Monster-brand energy drinks are marketed as being conventional carbonated beverages despite containing “dangerously high” amounts of caffeine, according to a new consumer class action filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. It was alleged in the lawsuit:
Defendants knowingly or with reckless indifference, market, advertise and sell Monster Energy Drinks as completely safe via playful/seductive advertising designed to attract pre-teens and teens.
The lawsuit was filed against Monster Beverage Corporation of Corona, Calif. The lead Plaintiff in the case, Alec Fisher, is a California native who currently resides in Baltimore, Md. Fisher claimed he started drinking Monster Energy products five years ago when he was 16 years old. The complaint alleged that Monster Energy gets teenagers hooked on its products by handing out “freebies” at high schools.
According to the complaint, “numerous” scientific studies have shown that “the consumption of large amounts of caffeine, in combination with other active ingredients like guarana, taurine, carnitine, and sugar, among others, by youth and adolescents can have serious health consequences.” In December of last year, the Food and Drug Administration reported 40 adverse events related to Monster energy drinks, five of which resulted in death. A wrongful death suit filed in California state court last year alleged that a 14-year-old Maryland girl died after consuming two Monster Energy drinks.
It was alleged in the Fisher lawsuit that Monster’s product labeling fails to warn of health risks and that he never would have become a consumer of the company’s products had he known he was jeopardizing his health. According to the complaint, Monster Energy marketed its products as “carbonated energy drinks” in order to circumvent government safety standards for dietary supplements. The class action includes claims for violations of the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, violations of California consumer protection law, breach of warranty, and unjust enrichment.