Jury finds Mon­ster En­ergy drinks didn’t cause teen’s de­bil­i­tat­ing heart at­tack

Texarkana Gazette - - METRO - By James Ru­fus Koren

A River­side County jury has found that the maker of Mon­ster En­ergy drinks was not re­spon­si­ble for a Texas teenager’s de­bil­i­tat­ing heart at­tack, the lat­est le­gal vic­tory for the com­pany, which has been the tar­get of nu­mer­ous prod­uct-li­a­bil­ity law­suits.

Cody Bled­soe sued Coron­abased Mon­ster Bev­er­age Corp. in 2014, say­ing the com­pany’s en­ergy drink was re­spon­si­ble for a heart at­tack he suf­fered the year be­fore when he was 18. The heart at­tack caused brain dam­age that Bled­soe’s at­tor­neys said limit his abil­ity to work and has led to high med­i­cal costs.

Mon­ster has been hit with nu­mer­ous sim­i­lar law­suits be­fore, though this is the first time a case has gone all the way to a jury trial. Oth­ers have been set­tled or, more of­ten, dis­missed. Marc Miles, an at­tor­ney for Mon­ster, said the jury in this case de­lib­er­ated for just 15 min­utes be­fore finding Thurs­day that the en­ergy drink did not lead to Bled­soe’s heart at­tack.

“This is the first case of this type to ever go to ver­dict, and I am pleased the jury lis­tened to the med­i­cal and sci­en­tific ev­i­dence and fol­lowed the law,” Miles said in a state­ment.

The com­pany has ar­gued in nu­mer­ous cases that its prod­ucts are safe, not­ing that they con­tain less caf­feine than many other bev­er­ages. A 16-ounce Mon­ster En­ergy drink con­tains 160 mil­ligrams of caf­feine, while a 16-ounce Star­bucks cof­fee con­tains 310 mil­ligrams, ac­cord­ing to the non­profit Cen­ter for Sci­ence in the Pub­lic In­ter­est.

Bled­soe’s at­tor­ney, Greg Marks, said he plans to ap­peal the ver­dict. He said River­side Su­pe­rior Court Judge Sun­shine Sykes did not per­mit him to use sev­eral stud­ies that sug­gest en­ergy drinks—al­though not Mon­ster specif­i­cally—can cause ir­reg­u­lar heart rhythms that lead to heart at­tacks.

“The judge ex­cluded a lot of sci­en­tific stud­ies,” Marks said. “That ham­strung us a lit­tle bit.”

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