If you were to enter virtually any convenience store here in West Virginia — or across the entire nation — and walk to the back coolers, chances are very good that you would find an entire section devoted to energy drinks. This product, while still relatively new on the beverage scene, has nevertheless become the drink of choice for many people, particularly teens and young adults.
While retailers continue to stock their shelves with energy drinks, there is growing concern among the scientific community that these beverages may not be entirely safe. To illustrate, consider that the Food and Drug Administration has confirmed that as many as 18 wrongful deaths could be linked to energy drink consumption between 2004 and 2012, while a federal study conducted in 2009 linked them to 13,000 emergency room visits.
Reports indicate that those who require emergency medical treatment after energy drink consumption typically complain of everything from dizziness and nausea to fatigue and chest pain.
In recent developments, the makers of Red Bull, arguably one of the most popular energy drinks in the entire world, were recently served with a first-of-its-kind $85 million wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family of a man who died after consuming the product.
According to reports, the 33-year-old man, a construction worker in New York and father to a young son, was playing a game of pickup basketball with friends at an area school back on the evening of November 8, 2011. After playing for nearly an hour, the man stopped and consumed a can of Red Bull. Shortly thereafter, he complained of becoming light-headed and collapsed on the court.
Emergency personnel were summoned and the man later died of what was determined to be idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy, which means his heart stopped. Here, the medic noted the consumption of the energy drink on the report submitted.
The complaint accuses Red Bull of creating and selling a dangerous product laden with potentially harmful ingredients. It also identifies nine other fatalities around the world that were linked to the energy drink, and refers to multiple studies that have identified it as being particularly dangerous for athletes and young people.
“[Red Bull contains] extra stimulants that make it different than a cup of coffee,” said the attorney representing the family. “They are more dangerous than what Red Bull lets on.”
For their part, Red Bull has declined to discuss the case. However, a spokesperson did point to the fact that it has sold 35 billion cans around the globe over 25 years as evidence of its safety record.
Stay tuned for developments in this fascinating case …
If you’ve been seriously injured or lost a loved one because of a dangerous product, consider speaking with an experienced legal professional who can protect your rights and fight for the justice you deserve.
Source: The New York Daily News, “Brooklyn man killed by drinking Red Bull, $85 million lawsuit alleges,” Oren Yaniv, Oct. 28, 2013