Five deaths may have been caused by consumption of Monster Energy Drink. The federal Food and Drug Administration is investigating the deaths as well as one non-fatal heart attack.
Monster Energy Drink markets itself as the "killer energy brew" and "the meanest energy supplement on the planet," reports The Associated Press.
However, the company probably did not expect these taglines to be taken literally. In its defense, the company says that it is unaware of any fatality anywhere that has been definitively linked to its drinks.
A Monster Energy Drink derives its jolt by putting in a lot of caffeine into its drinks. In a 24-ounce can that is popular with children, the drink can contain 240 milligrams of caffeine, or seven times the amount found in a regular soda, reports the AP.
The injuries and fatalities related to the drink are allegedly tied to the high caffeine concentration. An autopsy of one 14-year-old girl cited cardiac arrhythmia due to caffeine toxicity as the cause of death. The girl had allegedly drank two 24-ounce cans in a 24-hour period before she died, though the girl did suffer from an inherited disorder that weakened her blood vessels, reports the AP. Her parents have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Monster.
Monster already puts labels on its drinks that warns consumers that the drinks are not recommended for children and people who are sensitive to caffeine. However, there is question whether these warnings are enough. Especially when the company continues to heavily market its products in areas like action sports where teens can be influenced.
To win a wrongful death lawsuit, the plaintiffs will have to show that Monster was the cause of death and that it was negligent or careless in producing or marketing its products. Plaintiffs in the lawsuit may have the difficult task of not only proving that Monster caused the death, but also that Monster's marketing and labeling was careless and ineffective.