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Maryland family claims teenager died from energy drink

Energy drinks pumped full of caffeine are all the rage among young people. The beverage aisles in local convenience stores are full of cleverly promoted drinks claiming to provide a burst of nonstop energy. While teenagers are prohibited from purchasing alcohol and cigarettes, there are no regulations when it comes to buying energy drinks which are generally considered to be harmless.

Some concern has arisen recently over the effects of these energy drinks. At the tail end of 2012, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration disclosed that it was examining Monster energy drinks in light of five deaths attributed to its use. More recently, a Maryland family has asserted that the excessive caffeine in a Monster energy drink was toxic and caused the wrongful death of their 14-year old teenage daughter, who suffered from a heart condition.

In response, representatives for Monster energy drinks are refuting the claim, insisting that her death was caused by her medical problem and not the drink itself. Monster's position, however, is contrary to that taken by the Maryland Medical Examiner who listed the girl's cause of death as "caffeine toxicity." The medical examiner appears to have made this determination after learning that over two days, the teenager consumed two Monster energy drinks.

If the girl's family is successful in asserting a wrongful death lawsuit against Monster Beverage Corp., her family may be entitled to compensation, including damages for the loss of a loved one. It will be up to the courts to determine if the family can pursue a negligence claim again Monster for marketing and selling the highly caffeinated beverage.

Source: Reuters, "Monster Beverage says its drinks did not kill teenager," Martinne Geller, March 4, 2013

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