Correction: Monster Energy-Lawsuit story
NEW YORK (AP) — In a story March 4 about a lawsuit against Monster Beverage filed by the family of a Maryland teenager, The Associated Press erroneously characterized the girl's condition listed on her autopsy report. Ehlers-Danlos syndrome is a group of inherited disorders affecting connective tissues, not a heart condition. In one of its most severe forms, Ehlers-Danlos can weaken the heart's largest artery.
A corrected version of the story is below:
Monster hits back at lawsuit over teenager's death
Monster Beverage hits back at lawsuit alleging energy drinks played role in teenager's death
By CANDICE CHOI and MARY CLARE JALONICK
NEW YORK (AP) — Monster Beverage is hitting back at a lawsuit alleging its energy drinks were responsible for the death of a 14-year-old Maryland girl, saying that no blood test was performed to confirm that the girl died of "caffeine toxicity."
The disclosure comes amid intensifying scrutiny of energy drinks and their caffeine levels. A lawsuit filed last year by the family of Anais Fournier said the girl went into cardiac arrest after drinking two, 24-ounce cans of Monster drinks in a 24-hour period. The Food and Drug Administration is also investigating reports of deaths linked to energy drinks, including five that cite Monster beverages. The agency has noted that the reports don't prove the drinks caused the deaths.
In an interview with the Associated Press, Monster's lawyer Daniel Callahan said the company hired a team of physicians to review the medical records in the Anais Fournier case and found that she likely died of natural causes brought on by her pre-existing heart conditions. The team found no medical evidence to show caffeine was a factor, he said.
Callahan said the finding of "caffeine toxicity" on the autopsy report was based on interviews with Anais Fournier's mother, who told the medical examiner's office the girl had consumed energy drinks before her death.
A spokesman for Maryland's chief medical examiner could not immediately confirm whether a caffeine blood test had been performed and said that the office does not comment on cases in litigation. The cause of death listed on the autopsy report was "cardiac arrhythmia due to caffeine toxicity" in the presence of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, which is a connective tissue disorder that can weaken the heart's largest artery.
Kevin Goldberg, a Maryland attorney for Fournier's family, said that the absence of a test for caffeine "doesn't tell us anything" and that the family is looking forward to a jury determining Monster's accountability.
"The fact that she went into cardiac arrest just hours after consuming the second 24-ounce Monster energy drink is evidence that she died of caffeine toxicity," he said in an email.