Energy Drinks Lawsuit
The energy drink industry often faces litigation due to serious side effects, inadequate warnings, improper testing, and deceptive advertising. There is a strong precedent for settlement in these cases.
Energy drinks have been linked to a growing number of health problems over the years, many of them fatal. From 2007 to 2011, the number of emergency room visits involving energy drinks doubled—from 10,064 to 20,783.
Meanwhile, energy drink companies continue to boast of health benefits that have no scientific basis. They also fail to warn consumers with heart conditions, diabetes, seizure disorders, and consumers on medication.
What Are the Reported Side Effects?
Health complications often associated with energy drinks include stroke, kidney failure, cardiac stent, and death.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has linked 34 deaths to energy drinks since 2004, with half of those occurring in just the past few years. Of these 34 deaths, 22 involved 5-hour Energy, 11 Monster, and one Rockstar.
Do Energy Drink Labels Warn Consumers About Side Effects?
Most energy drink labels only warn against consumption by children, pregnant women, and people sensitive to caffeine. They sometimes warn against excessive consumption, which they consider more than three cans a day.
But most of these drinks come in non-resealable cans, and companies like Monster encourage consumers to “pound” their drinks down. They target children in their marketing [link], and three cans might add up to as much as 720mg of caffeine: several times the recommended daily intake. Teenagers, which make up the bulk of the energy drink market, should not consume more than 100mg of caffeine a day. (Ideally, they would consume none.)
Importantly, Monster does NOT warn against consumption by people with heart conditions, or seizure disorders, or diabetes—despite growing evidence that energy drinks raise the risk of arrhythmia, heart failure, heart attack, stroke, and even death.
These remarkably insufficient warnings open up energy drink companies to serious and justified litigation.
Which Brands of Energy Drinks Are Subject to Litigation?
The big four energy drink companies—Red Bull, Monster, 5-hour Energy, and Rockstar—have all faced lawsuits in the past, and will face more in the future. Any culpable energy drink company can be taken to court for its transgressions.
What Types of Lawsuits Have Been Filed, and What Were Their Outcomes?
For years, consumers have fought back against energy drink companies over injuries and side effects, insufficient warnings, and false advertising, among other issues. Though they publicly deny all responsibility, these companies almost always settle their lawsuits to avoid going to trial.
In 2013, a 33-year-old Brooklyn man named Cory Terry suffered a heart attack and died after drinking a Red Bull on a break in between rec league basketball games. His family filed an $85 million wrongful death suit against Red Bull: this suit is still pending.
In Fall 2014, Red Bull settled a class action lawsuit alleging false advertisement, as the drink does not offer the promised mental or physical benefits implied by the slogan “Red Bull gives you wings.” (Taurine and other Red Bull ingredients do not boost performance.) Red Bull settled for an eye-popping $13 million; anyone who had purchased a Red Bull was entitled to $10—which wound up being just $4.25 because so many people requested compensation.
The highest profile lawsuits against Monster stemmed from the deaths of two teenagers, Anais Fournier (in 2011) and Alex Morris (in 2012), who went into cardiac arrest after consuming Monster. Their families filed wrongful death suits; both reached confidential (and likely sizable) settlements in 2015.
In 2015, Monster also reached a confidential settlement with the wife of Shane Felts, a 42-year-old Kansas City man who died in 2014 after drinking a can of Monster a day for just two weeks.
In May 2013, the city attorney of San Francisco, Dennis Herrera, sued Monster Energy for targeting children in its marketing, calling it “the industry’s worst offender.”
Earlier this year, Orlando-based law firm Morgan & Morgan filed 13 lawsuits against Monster, and is now investigating claims for more than 100 people who have suffered significant injuries after consuming energy drinks.
In its June 2014 analysis of the FDA’s adverse event records, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) linked 34 deaths to energy drinks since 2004. Of those 34 deaths, 22 involved 5-hour Energy.
As a result, 5-hour’s parent company, Living Essentials, LLC, has been saddled by legal proceedings for several years now. As with Red Bull, plaintiffs argue that the product does not provide the health benefits it advertises. They have brought class action lawsuits alleging false advertising and inaccurate labeling. (As a “dietary supplement,” 5-hour Energy is not required to disclose its caffeine content.)
In June 2013, three separate class action lawsuits were consolidated into a multidistrict litigation (MDL) that remains pending in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.
In October 2014, The New York Times reported that attorney generals in 30 states were investigating allegations of deceptive advertising by 5-hour Energy.
In 2015, a California man named Oscar Maldonado filed suit against Rockstar after suffering a heart attack. Maldonado had consumed four Rockstars in a span of just six to eight hours.
Who Is Eligible for a Lawsuit?
Anyone who has suffered as a result of consuming energy drinks. If energy drinks have adversely affected your health, or a loved one’s, you may be entitled to compensation. Side effects may include:
- Kidney Failure
- Cardiac Stent
(Note: If you are suffering, consult a medical professional to determine the cause and proper treatment for your affliction.)
How Much Does It Cost?
At Morgan & Morgan, we will only collect if the case is successful. We accept a fixed percentage (typically one-third) of the recovery.
What Should I Look for in an Attorney?
Experience. Our law firm has already filed 13 lawsuits against Monster, and we are investigating claims against other energy drink companies on the grounds of severe injuries, inadequate labeling, and improper testing. We will hold them accountable as we did Big Tobacco, winning $90 million in tobacco verdicts and settlements.
As one of the largest consumer protection firms in the country, with more than 300 attorneys and a support staff of over 1,500 people, we are one of the few firms with the resources to take on Big Energy. We are trial lawyers who are not afraid to go up against large corporations, and we have the track record to prove it.