US: Monster Beverage claims 'no evidence' in death lawsuit
Monster has defended itself against the lawsuit
Monster Beverage has claimed there is no medical evidence to support allegations that its energy drinks contributed to the death of a 14 year-old girl.
The company was hit with a lawsuit in Maryland, US, last October by the family of the girl, Anais Fournier. The lawsuit alleged that Ms Fournier had drunk two cans of 24oz Monster drinks before her death, causing caffeine toxicity.
But, in a lengthy riposte yesterday (4 March), the California-based company denied the claim. Daniel Callahan, a lawyer acting for Monster, said there is “no medical, scientific or factual evidence to support the Maryland medical examiner's report of 'caffeine toxicity’”. The company based its assertion on findings from a group of physicians and a coroner it had asked to examine the medical records of Ms Fournier.
Earlier this month, the company announced it is changing the classification of its energy drinks to 'conventional foods' and will list caffeine content on products.
Callahan added: "The Maryland medical examiner concluded that Ms Fournier died of natural causes and an independent pathologist hired by the State of Maryland concluded her cause of death to be cardiac fibrosis, which is a thickening or scarring of the cardiac tissue.”
Kevin Goldberg, a Maryland lawyer for Ms. Fournier’s family, told the New York Times that the lack of a caffeine test “doesn’t tell us anything” and that the family was looking forward to a jury deciding Monster’s accountability.
The energy drinks category has been under scrutiny of late. The US Food & Drug Administration revealed last year it was investigating energy drinks that had been cited in reports of a number of deaths. Two US senators are also probing the category over health concerns.
Last week, Monster reported a slowing in its full-year profits growth, but sales remained healthy.
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