Monster Beverage Corp. is contesting its liability in a wrongful death lawsuit over the 2011 death of a 14-year-old girl. After the girl's parents sued for damages, the corporation stated that a pre-existing heart condition instead was the cause of her cardiac arrest and not the two Monster beverages the girl consumed shortly before her death. The company says that a medical examiner's report is inconclusive and lacks any physical evidence to link the girl's caffeine consumption to her death.
After the autopsy, the medical examiner reported that caffeine toxicity from the energy drinks was a likely trigger for the girl's cardiac arrest, brought about by her heart condition called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. According to the girl's friends, the teen drank two 24-ounce Monster energy drinks over a period of two days. She suffered cardiac arrest and swelling of the brain within two to three hours of consuming the last beverage.
While Monster's attorneys say the full autopsy report contradicts itself and states the girl's family history of heart problems were the more likely cause of her death, the FDA is watching the case in a larger investigation into increasing reports of emergency room visits due to caffeine overdoses.
When a family files a wrongful death lawsuit against a large corporation, having an experienced attorney who will aggressively defend their case is crucial. In most cases, the company will have powerful attorneys on its side who will fight to defend their client. Also important are the testimony and evidence presented by experts such as doctors and coroners that can prove a company's products caused harm.
Source: Natural Products Insider, "Experts Crucial in Wrongful Death Suit Against Monster Beverage," Josh Long, Feb. 13, 2013