Millions of Americans drink caffeinated beverages every day, and most do not experience anything more than an increased energy level as a side effect. However, imagine the tragedy and heartbreak of discovering that a loved one passed away after drinking two caffeinated beverages in 24 hours. This happened to a young girl in California, and her family has since filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the caffeinated beverage company.
The California-based company is the well-known Monster Beverage. In the fall of 2012, a 14-year-old girl consumed two Monster energy drinks within a 24 hour period. Shortly thereafter, the girl died. The girl did have a minor existing heart condition. Nonetheless, according to the coroner's report, the girl died as a result of "cardiac arrhythmia due to caffeine toxicity." Doctors were aware of the existing heart condition, but it was not considered severe enough for them to give the girl any specific instructions on limiting her activities or caffeine intake.
The parents most likely filed the wrongful death lawsuit in search of compensation for their pain and suffering as well as the financial obligations, such as medical bills and death expenses, which arose as a result of their tragic loss of a loved one. Since the filing of the suit, the case has been in front of a California judge. The case recently took a turn that may put the family at a disadvantage for recovery. The California judge has sent the case to mediation.
The best-case scenario for the beverage maker was likely this route, where the case is thrown out of court and sent to mediation. Unfortunately for the family of the young girl, they may have had better luck with recovery if their case would have gone in front of a jury. Of course, since the mediation has not yet begun, only time will tell where this case settles itself.
It is important for those that have lost a loved one due to another party's lack of care or negligence to know that they may be entitled to recovery. The unexpected loss of a loved one is painful, and nothing will bring that person back. Obtaining a recovery through the judicial system may help to relieve some of the financial pressure created by the family's loss.
Source: CNBC, "Wrongful Death Suit Against Monster Beverage Heads to Mediation," Jason Gewirtz, May 31, 2013.