5:57 AM PDT, October 23, 2012
RIVERSIDE, Calif. -- The family of a 14-year old girl who died after drinking two 24-ounce Monster Energy Drinks in 24 hours, is suing the company for wrongful death.
A complaint filed last Friday by Wendy Crossland and Richard Fournier, of Maryland, states that their daughter, Anais Fournier, went into cardiac arrest after consuming the drinks.
Monster Beverage Corp. is based in Riverside County, Calif., which is where the case was filed.
Fournier was "unconscious when emergency personnel arrived at her home," according to the complaint.
Doctors at Johns Hopkins Hospital induced a coma in an attempt to reduce brain swelling, but after several days, "the decision was made to terminate life support," the complaint said.
The opinion of the Maryland medical examiner's office is that Fournier died of cardiac arrhythmia due to caffeine toxicity that impeded her heart's ability to pump blood.
The autopsy report also concluded that Fournier suffered from Ehlers-Danlos syndrome -- an inherited disorder that can make connective tissues, like skin and blood vessel walls, flexible and weak.
"Monster does not believe that its beverages are in any way responsible for the death of Ms. Fournier," Evan Pondel, a spokesman for the company, said in a statement on Friday.
"Monster is unaware of any fatality anywhere that has been caused by its drinks," the statement continued.
"The Fournier family has chosen to file a lawsuit, which Monster intends to vigorously defend and, in light of such pending litigation, Monster's policy is to not comment further."
In addition to wrongful death, Fournier's parents are contending that Monster failed to warn of their beverage's potential dangers.
They claim that the drinks are "unreasonably dangerous and defective," and that Monster was negligent in the design, manufacture and sale of the drinks.
The highly caffeinated Monster Energy Drink has been cited in five deaths and one non-fatal heart attack, according to reports that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is investigating.
The reports claim that people had adverse reactions after they consumed Monster Energy Drink.
The beverage comes in 24-ounce cans and contains 240 milligrams of caffeine, or seven times the amount of the caffeine in a 12-ounce cola.
Although the FDA is investigating the allegations, which date back to 2004, the agency said the reports don't necessarily prove that the drinks caused the deaths or injuries.
"As with any reports of a death or injury the agency receives, we take them very seriously and investigate diligently," Shelly Burgess, a FDA spokeswoman, said in a statement.