California Jury Finds Energy Drinks Did Not Cause Plaintiff Injury

After a five-week trial,  it took a California jury only about 15 minutes to return a unanimous verdict in favor of Monster Beverage Corporation and Monster Energy Company in a case where the plaintiff alleged that Monster Energy drinks caused him to suffer cardiac arrest. Monster has been the target of similar product liability lawsuits in the past, many of which were later dropped. 

“This is the first case of this type ever to go to verdict and I am pleased the jury listened to the medical and scientific evidence and followed the law,” said Shook Partner Marc Miles, who led the defense team. “After years of unsupported allegations regarding the safety of energy drinks, the jury needed only 15 minutes to reach this finding.” 

The complaint alleged defective design, negligence, failure to warn and fraudulent concealment of the purported dangers of the energy drink ingredients. Monster Energy drinks contain about 10 milligrams of caffeine per ounce from all sources—about half the amount found in popular coffeehouse coffee. Miles told the Los Angeles Times, “People often don’t understand what’s in the drinks, and they make assumptions. When the science and the evidence come out, it’s clear.” 

The plaintiff suffered cardiac arrest in 2013, which he alleged resulted in significant brain damage. He asked for compensatory and punitive damages in his lawsuit.  The jury found that Monster Energy drinks did not cause the plaintiff’s injuries.

Miles, along with Partner Janet Hickson and Of Counsels Kristy Schlesinger and Gabe Spooner, represent Monster.

Because science-related litigation often demands a high degree of technical skill, Shook has invested in a human infrastructure of more than 120 full-time researchers and analysts who hold undergraduate and advanced degrees (including 16 doctorates) in scientific and medical specialties. With our deep bench of knowledgeable attorneys and professional staff, Shook is tenacious in rooting out, exposing and disposing of junk science.

The Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal and the Associated Press reported on the verdict. 

The case is Bledsoe v. Monster Beverage Corp., No. RIC 1412551 (Cal. Super. Ct., Riverside Cty., December 7, 2018).