During a recent press conference, counsel for Monster Energy reportedly addressed claims made in a wrongful death lawsuit filed against the company by the parents of a Maryland teenager who allegedly died after consuming the company’s energy drink. The company’s experts have apparently reviewed the medical records in the case and determined that “there is no medical, scientific or factual evidence to support the Maryland medical examiner’s report of ‘caffeine toxicity’ or that Ms. Fournier’s consumption of two Monster Energy Drinks 24 hours apart contributed to, let alone was the cause of her untimely death.”

Apparently, no blood tests were conducted to confirm the examiner’s finding, and the 14-year-old had pre-existing conditions—an enlarged heart, a vascular form of connective tissue disease, mitral valve prolapse, and myocardial fibrosis—that purportedly increased her risk of cardiac arrest and sudden death.

The company was apparently motivated to call the press conference after a Chicago alderman cited the teen’s death to justify a proposal that the city ban energy drinks. Additional information about that initiative appears elsewhere in this Update. Meanwhile, the plaintiffs’ attorney reportedly indicated that other symptoms of caffeine toxicity were in the record. He said, “We have our experts and they have their experts [and] it’s not appropriate . . . to litigate the case in the media.” See NBC News and Reuters, March 4, 2013.

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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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