(WESH) — Attorneys Mike Morgan and Andrew Parker Felix, of Morgan & Morgan, are investigating claims from more than 100 people who say they’ve suffered significant injuries after consuming energy drinks.
At a news conference Monday, Morgan & Morgan said the complaint comes on the heels of a new study in the International Journal of Cardiology that links more than two energy drinks a day to serious heart problems.
The life-threatening injuries reported in the cases include heart attacks, strokes, brain damage and kidney failure, according to Morgan & Morgan. At the time of their injuries, the plaintiffs ranged in age from 14 to 42 and did not have any significant prior health issues.
The grounds for complaint include product defect, improper or lack of testing, lack of warnings, and concealment of known side effects, as well as dangers on the part of Monster, WESH 2 News has learned.
The lawsuit alleges that because of Monster’s classification as a “dietary supplement” before 2013, the company was able to avoid meaningful regulation by the Food and Drug Administration, and labels did not provide plaintiffs with important knowledge about the amount of caffeine in each can in order for them to make an informed decision before consumption.
“Because of the amount and the ability for this thing to be toxic, it should be regulated, similar to alcohol and tobacco, where it’s adults making these choices,” said Morgan.
Monster energy drinks have been reclassified and must now meet FDA regulations for conventional foods, officials said. All individual ingredients must be GRAS (generally regarded as safe). However, the lawsuits allege that does not indicate that Monster’s formula has been properly tested as a mixture, and that there has been continued reluctance on the part of the company to conduct this research.
The lawsuits further allege that Monster Beverage Corporation’s marketing intentionally targets children, teenagers and young adults and encourages unhealthy consumption of its products.
The medical director for Seminole County, Dr. Todd Husty, said blaming catastrophic health events on the drinks should only be considered on a case-by-case basis.
“There have been previous settled suits, and previous thrown out suits, because of [people] claiming that the caffeine caused certain problems. But what gets questioned always is what pre-existing conditions did the patient have?” Husty said.
Although the initial cases filed by Morgan & Morgan involve Monster, the firm said it believes this is an industry-wide problem, and that the competition to provide the largest can and the biggest buzz has led to unsafe products that lack proper warnings or testing, all of which they say is geared toward acquiring new and younger drinkers.
Morgan & Morgan encourages individuals who have consumed Monster beverages or similar energy drinks to visit energydrinkslawsuit.com.
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