In a never before seen victory for the energy drink industry, a Riverside County jury found unanimously for the defense, holding that Monster Energy Beverage Corp. did not play a substantial role in causing a plaintiff’s cardiac arrest in the matter ofBledsoe v. Monster Beverage Corp. For many years, the energy drink industry has been demonized and causally linked to many ailments without actual scientific evidence. Here, the plaintiff claimed that the energy drink was responsible for a heart attack that he suffered at age 18. He further claimed that the heart attack caused brain damage, which limits his ability to work and has led to high medical costs.
During the trial, Riverside county Judge Sunshine Sykes allowed into evidence numerous scientific studies showing that Monster contains no harmful synergy of ingredients to consumers. The trial was the first of its kind to actually litigate and challenge unsubstantiated allegations routinely made in personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits against energy drink companies. 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. Most cases of this kind settle, or more often, are dismissed. A Florida law firm in 2016 filed and later dropped more than a dozen cases against Monster. In October, a woman in Tacoma, Wash., dropped a 2017 lawsuit in which she alleged that drinks from Monster and rival beverage maker Red Bull caused her husband’s death. According to the Defense, the jury only deliberated for 15 minutes before reaching finding in favor of the energy drink company.
Judge Sykes set a precedent when she allowed for the introduction into evidence of multiple studies which concluded that Monster drinks were safe to drink. This verdict will have long lasting effects for Monster and similar energy drink powerhouses in their effort to cease the vilification of their brand. Plaintiff’s counsel, Greg Marks, plans to appeal the verdict because he believes that Judge Sykes did not permit him to use several studies that suggest energy drinks—though not Monster specifically—can lead to heart attacks. For now, the verdict is a win for the energy drink beverage industry.