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Wrongful death suit follows energy drink fatality

Recently, adverse event reports related to caffeinated energy drinks were released by the FDA to the New York Times pursuant to a Freedom of Information Act request. The request came from a couple suing the manufacturer of Monster brand caffeinated energy beverage for the wrongful death of their 14-year old daughter. The couple claims that the beverage company failed to adequately warn of the danger of consuming the drink.

The girl drank two 24-ounce beverages over the course of two days. According to a coroner's report, the caffeine content of the drinks aggravated an underlying heart condition which led to arrhythmia and death. Researchers have called for more adequate labels to warn of the negative impact caffeine can have on young people. Because such beverages are an "energy supplement" rather than a food item they are not currently required to list caffeine content.

A cause of action for wrongful death may be available to family members following the loss of a loved one. A wrongful death action occurs when a person is killed due to another's negligence, wrongful act, neglect or omission. Such actions are commonly brought by surviving spouses and children and sometimes parents. The suit will be brought by the representative for the decedent's estate in accordance with the state's wrongful death statute.

Wrongful death actions can result from many different types of circumstances, including medical malpractice that results in a death, automobile or airplane accidents, occupational exposure to hazards, criminal behavior or deaths that occur during a supervised activity. Economic damages for the loss of a child can be recovered and will be measured by details such as age, sex, life and work expectancy and earning potential. .

The death of a loved one can be the most devastating event in a person's life. As a result, surviving family members may have many reasons to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit.

Source: The Bottom Line, "Parents of 14-year-old Girl Sue Monster for Wrongful Death," Emma Boorman, Oct. 31, 2012

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