The estate of Logan Stiner, an Ohio teenager who died in May 2014 after
ingesting pure caffeine powder purchased from Amazon, has filed a lawsuit
against the online retailer and the companies that manufacture and market
the powder. Stiner v. Amazon.com Inc., No. 15CV185837 (C.P. Lorain Cty., filed
March 6, 2015).

According to the complaint, “pure caffeine is a drug” under Ohio law, but the
powder manufacturers have “successfully avoided meaningful regulation of
[the] product by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) by classifying
their product as a ‘dietary supplement,’” which leaves them “responsible for
determining that pure caffeine powder is safe.” The companies “failed to
alert users of the known risks and side effects of ingesting caffeine powder,
including the risk of cardiac arrhythmia and cardiac arrest,” the reaction that
killed Stiner, the complaint says. The estate also alleges that the companies
did not conduct adequate testing of the product’s effects before selling it,
including Amazon, which is “responsible for evaluating the safety of [its] products, including caffeine powder prior to promoting, advertising and
marketing it.”

In addition to negligence, the estate alleges violations of the Ohio Food &
Drug Safety Act and argues for strict liability for a design defect, inadequate
warnings and nonconformance with representations of the caffeine powder.

 

Issue 558

About The Author

For decades, manufacturers, distributors and retailers at every link in the food chain have come to Shook, Hardy & Bacon to partner with a legal team that understands the issues they face in today's evolving food production industry. Shook attorneys work with some of the world's largest food, beverage and agribusiness companies to establish preventative measures, conduct internal audits, develop public relations strategies, and advance tort reform initiatives.

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