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 California federal court.
“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,” stated a complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California in December.
The lawsuit was filed against Monster Beverage Corp. 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. 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, sugar, among others, by youth and adolescents can have serious health consequences.”
Last month, 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.
Fisher alleged 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.”