Energy drinks are incredibly popular among teenagers. And the family of a Hagerstown girl says they also have the potential to be deadly. That's why they're fighting the maker of one beverage. But Monster Energy is fighting back against their claims.
The family of 14-year-old Anais Fournier filed a lawsuit last fall in California Superior Court, blaming Monster Beverage Corporate in the teen's death. The suit claims Fournier went into cardiac arrest and later died after drinking two 24-ounce cans of Monster in 24 hours. But the company says it isn't to blame and is citing new evidence in the case.
According to the Associated Press, a lawyer for Monster Energy says the company hired a team of doctors to look at Fournier's medical reports and found no evidence caffeine played a role in her death.
The statement comes in direct contrast to an autopsy report which lists Fournier's cause of death as "cardiac arrhythmia due to caffeine toxicity". Fournier died in December 2011 after her family says she consumed Monster Energy drinks. Their lawsuit claims she went unconscious after drinking the second can and went into cardiac arrest. Fournier was taken to a local hospital and then transferred to Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, where she died six days later after being removed from life support.
Monster's attorney tells the AP no blood tests were ever performed that could prove Fournier died from caffeine toxicity. Kevin Goldberg, an attorney who represents Richard Fournier and Wendy Crossland, Anais' parents, says they're upset Monster is willing to pay big money to protect itself, but not on a more specific label cautioning anyone under 18 from drinking it. He says, "At a minimum, the warning should say that the product can cause serious injuries and death to anyone with an underlying heart condition; and that the product should not be consumed by anyone under the age of 18. If Anais had the benefit of such a warning, she would not be dead."