SAN FRANCISCO — San Francisco attorney Dennis Herrera has launched a lawsuit against Monster Beverage Corporation for violating California law with its marketing of highly caffeinated energy drinks to children as young as six years old, despite scientific findings that such products may cause "significant morbidity in adolescents" from elevated blood pressure, brain seizures and severe cardiac events.
The lawsuit filed in San Francisco Superior Court comes just one week after Monster pre-emptively sued Herrera in an extraordinary legal attempt to halt his office's months-long investigation into the marketing and sales practices of the nation's largest energy drink manufacturer. Herrera's office had been working with Monster in good faith to negotiate voluntary changes to its youth-targeted marketing practices when the Corona, Calif.-based energy drink manufacturer abruptly sued the city attorney in federal court on April 29. Herrera, who has characterized Monster's litigation strategy as "forum shopping" and a bid to win the race to the courthouse, has vowed to not back down.
"Monster Energy is unique among energy drink makers for the extent to which it targets children and youth in its marketing, despite the known risks its products pose to young people's health and safety," said Herrera. "Consumption of highly caffeinated energy drinks by children has been widely condemned by pediatricians and scientists, and the NCAA has banned its member institutions from providing these products even to college athletes because of the grave safety risks. When the U.S. Food and Drug Administration last week announced its investigation into the addition of caffeine to products like Monster, it expressed particular concern about aggressive marketing to young people. Yet Monster Energy remains defiant. As the industry's worst-offender, Monster Energy should reform its irresponsible and illegal marketing practices before they're forced to by regulators or courts."
The FDA has received numerous adverse-event reports allegedly related to consumption of Monster Energy drinks, including five deaths and multiple reported instances of illness, injury and hospitalizations. The alleged wrongful death of a 14-year-old Maryland girl from cardiac arrhythmia due to ca