Having sex with his girlfriend pushed him over the edge.
That’s the claim made in a Monster Energy Drink Deaths and Hospitalizations lawsuit recently in Alameda County. Plaintiff Paula Morris sued Monster Beverage Corp. and Monster Energy Co. in California for the wrongful death of her son Alex, who was just 19 when he died of a heart attack brought on, or so it was alleged, by the “ingestion of a toxic amount of caffeine and other stimulants,” associated with the energy drink.
Energy drinks are extremely popular, especially with adolescents and young adults. The combination of caffeine and other contents combine to provide an instant jolt of energy useful for a myriad of applications.
But are energy drinks safe? That’s a question that continues to be hotly debated. Proponents of energy drinks claim that downing a couple of energy drinks in a day is no worse than drinking an average of five cups of coffee - in both cases, depending on the serving size, of course. Critics of energy drinks note that coffee, served hot, is meant to be sipped and thus the caffeine hit is more gradual. In contrast, energy drinks are often “guzzled,” or ingested rapidly.
There are also concerns with other ingredients, which researchers suggest may heighten the effects of caffeine and foster interactions. “The problem with ED [energy drink] consumption is that these beverages often contain high amounts of labeled and even masked caffeine,” researchers of a study featured in a LawyersandSettlements.com article penned by writer Heidi Turner reference, “as well as other substances such as guarana, ginseng, and taurine in variable quantities, which may generate uncertain interactions.”
“Guarana is a Brazilian plant containing ‘guaranine,’ which is nothing more than caffeine, in about twice the concentration of the caffeine found in coffee beans,” the researchers claim.
If caffeine and guarana are broken out separately on product labeling, consumers will rightly focus on the posted caffeine content, failing to realize that levels of guarana can add to monster caffeine levels. In other words, critics and researchers suggest that caffeine levels alone do not tell the entire story.
According to the Monster drink complaint filed on behalf of the victim, Alex Morris routinely consumed at least two Monster energy drinks per day totaling at the least 32 ounces, and at the most 64 ounces per day for a period of three years, from the time he would have been 16 years old. “During the twenty-four (24) hours prior to his death in the early morning of July 1, 2012, 19-year-old Alex Morris consumed at least two (2) 16-oz. cans of Monster Energy drinks,” the complaint says.
“While engaged in sexual activity with his girlfriend during the early morning hours of July 1, 2012, Alex collapsed, went into cardiac arrest, and became unresponsive and pulseless. Alex’s girlfriend and his roommate unsuccessfully attempted CPR prior to the arrival of the paramedics, who found Alex in ventricular fibrillation upon their arrival. Alex was transported to Kaiser Permanente Hospital-Oakland, where he was pronounced dead. An autopsy report identifies Alex’s cause of death as “cardiac arrhythmia due to cardiomyopathy.”
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Plaintiff Paula Morris asserts her late son would not have consumed the product had Monster Beverage Corp. “properly disclosed and warned of the significant risk of suffering adverse cardiac episodes, including cardiac arrhythmias, due to consumption of Monster Energy, a product containing exorbitant levels of caffeine, taurine and guarana.”
The Monster drink wrongful death case, handled by the R. Rex Parris Law Firm of Lancaster, California, settled just weeks before having to go to trial. Details of the settlement have not been disclosed.