MD teen's death leads to lawsuit, scrutiny of energy drink maker

Anais Fournier, 14, died in 2011

The family of a Maryland girl who died after drinking a popular brand of energy drink has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the beverage company.

Members of Anais Fournier's family say before she died back in December of 2011, the 14-year-old drank two 24-ounce Monster Energy drinks.

The autopsy concluded the cause of death was cardiac arrhythmia, caused by excess caffeine, which prevented the heart from pumping blood.

Now the family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the California company that makes the drink.

The family's attorney says Anais did have an underlying heart condition.

The problem is these kids are drinking these energy drinks have an underlying condition and it's like putting gasoline on a fire," said the attorney, Kevin Goldberg.

Dr. Glenn Meininger treats patients with heart rhythm irregularities at Union Memorial Hospital.

"Most people who manage patients with rhythm disorders try and advise patients to limit caffeine. Caffeine can definitely be a trigger," he said.

The makers of energy drinks are not required to disclose the amount of caffeine in their products because unlike soda and other soft drinks, energy drinks are considered "dietary supplements."

Anais Fournier's mother, Wendy Crossland, told Anderson Cooper that needs to change.  "I've been in touch with senators and congress people, to try to force the FDA to step up and regulate these and make the energy companies tell everything in these drinks and how much; you don't know how much caffeine is in there," she said.

The Monster Beverage Corporation released a statement Monday, saying: "Monster does not believe that its beverages are in any way responsible for the death of Ms. Fournier.  Monster is unaware of any fatality anywhere that has been caused by its drinks.  The Fournier family has chosen to file a lawsuit, which Monster intends to vigorously defend."

A spokeswoman for the FDA now says the agency is investigating reports of five deaths and a non-fatal heart attack linked to Monster Energy drinks.

Monster Beverage's stock lost more than 14 percent of its value on Monday.

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