The family of a 14-year-old Maryland girl is suing the California makers of Monster Energy, alleging Friday that too much caffeine in the popular energy drink led to her death.
Lawyers said the two 24-ounce (0.7 liter) cans of Monster Energy consumed by Anais Fournier in the 24 hours prior to her fatal cardiac arrest in December 2011 contained as much caffeine -- 480 milligrams -- as 14 12-ounce cans of Coca-Cola.
The ensuing autopsy cited "cardiac arrhythmia due to caffeine toxicity" as the cause of death.
The family is asking the California Supreme Court for "all damages allowed by law," claiming that Monster Energy should be held responsible for wrongful death for allegedly failing to warn about its product's dangers.
By law, soft drinks in the United States can contain no more than 71.5 milligrams of caffeine per 12 ounces. But the limit does not apply to energy drinks like Monster Energy that are considered dietary supplements.
"These drinks are death traps for young, developing girls and boys like my daughter Anais," her mother Wendy Crossland said in a statement issued by the family's law firm, Goldberg, Finnegan and Mester.
"I just want Monster Energy to know their product can kill."
In a statement, the drink's manufacturer, Monster Beverage, said it was unaware of any fatality caused by any of the more than eight billion energy drinks it has sold worldwide.
"Monster does not believe that its beverages are in any way responsible for the death of Ms. Fournier," it said, adding that it intended to "vigorously" defend itself in court.
The product website for Monster Energy claims the beverage is "the meanest energy supplement on the planet ... a wicked mega hit that delivers twice the buzz of a regular energy drink."
["Monster Drinks" by Toban Black via Flickr, Creative Commons licensed]