The lawsuit, Felts v. Monster Beverage Corporation, et al, alleges Monster Energy Extra Strength with Nitrous Technology is not safe for consumers because “it contains excessive amounts of caffeine, lacks sufficient information in its labeling, and fails to warn about a variety of alleged health risks,” according to court documents. The lawsuit alleges the drink was defectively designed, negligently manufactured and violates the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act.
According to a report by NBC News (7/9/14), Shane Felts died in June 2012. For the two weeks prior to his death, Shane had ingested at least one energy drink every day. His wife, Heather, says that energy drinks are marketed as being safe - similar to a dietary supplement - when in fact they are stimulants that could cause severe reactions.
Fox News (7/11/14) reports that the drink Shane consumed had 240 milligrams of caffeine. According to the Felts’ lawsuit, consuming caffeine in doses above 200 milligrams can be fatal. High doses of caffeine are also reportedly linked to heart problems and seizures.
Because the drinks are considered supplements, however, the FDA has no control over the amount of caffeine in them, unlike in soda. Energy drinks are popular, with some reports that they make around $10 billion annually.
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Monster Energy has filed a response in court that the lawsuit is without merit.
Other lawsuits have been filed against energy drink makers, including lawsuits involving teenagers who died. One such lawsuit was filed by the family of Alex Morris, who died at age 19 after consuming two cans of energy drink every day for three years before he died. As reported by Brenda Craig for LawyersandSettlements, that trial is expected to begin in April 2015.
The Felts lawsuit is Felts v. Monster Beverage Corporation, et al, Case Number 4:14-cv-00758, in the Western District of Missouri.