Please Note: Schmidt & Clark, LLP, is no longer accepting energy drink Lawsuits. If you feel that you may have a potential case, we urge you to contact another law firm adequately suited to handle your case.
January 3, 2013 – Last month, a California man filed a class action lawsuit against the makers of Monster Energy, claiming that the companies market their caffeinated drinks as conventional beverages, despite classifying them as dietary supplements to avoid FDA regulations. The largely ambiguous dietary supplement classification allows manufacturers to avoid federal health regulations, and permits them to market their products without revealing the ingredients. The class action states that Monster Energy Drinks contain a dangerously high amount of caffeine, and that numerous scientific studies have linked it and other similar beverages to adverse health consequences.
What’s the problem?
The new Monster Energy Drink class action lawsuit was filed on December 12, 2012, on behalf of Alec Fisher, in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. The suit names Monster Beverage Corporation and Monster Energy Corporation as defendants, and seeks class action status to represent all consumers who purchased the companies’ beverages.
According to Fisher’s complaint, Monster markets its products as standard soft drinks, which leads many people to believe that their ingredients are regulated by federal health authorities. However, because of their arbitrary distinction as dietary supplements, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has not requested testing for the beverages to determine whether they are safe for consumption.
“Monster Energy Drinks, in fact, contain a dangerously high amount of caffeine that have never been subjected to any kind of pre-market review by any regulatory authority prior to them being put in the stream of commerce,” Fisher’s complaint states. “Numerous scientific studies have shown that the consumption of large amounts of caffeine, in combination with other active ingredients like guarana, taurine, carnitine, sugar, among others, by youth and adolescents can have serious health consequences. Yet, Defendants knowingly and with reckless indifference, market, advertise and sell Monster Energy Drinks as completely safe via playful/seductive advertising designed to attract pre-teens and teens and via product placement.”
The suit also claims that Monster marketing includes scantily-clad young women modeling youth-oriented clothing and accessories, and that advertisements encourage drinking large amounts of their energy drinks so consumers can collect tabs to trade for merchandise.
Monster beverages and other popular energy drinks such as Red Bull, Rockstar and 5-Hour Energy, combine large amounts of caffeine with other potent stimulants such as guarana and taurine to increase energy levels over extended periods of time. However, over the past several years, concerns have emerged about the potential health complications associated with energy drinks, which can contain up to 240 milligrams of caffeine per 24-ounce can.
Recent studies have determined that caffeine overdoses, which typically occur after consumption of 200 to 400 milligrams, can cause heart attacks, cardiac arrythmias, and death. Compounding the problem, Monster Energy Drinks are aggressively marketed toward teens and young adults, who tend to guzzle the beverages in order to obtain a caffeine high that produces a short burst of energy.
Since 2004, the FDA has received at least 37 adverse event reports (AERS) involving Monster Energy Drinks, including at least five people who died over the last year alone. The new class action comes as California health authorities are placing increased pressure on Monster to prove safety claims it has made about its beverages.
The Monster Energy class action lawsuit claims that marketing suggests consumers cannot drink too much, despite the risk of caffeine overdose. Monster advertisements also suggest the drinks provide an energy buzz, which implies the effects of an alcoholic beverage.