CORONA, Calif. -- Monster Beverage Corp. has revealed the findings of a group of physicians and a coroner that the company asked to examine the medical records of Anais Fournier, whose family filed a lawsuit blaming her death on the consumption of Monster Energy Drinks.
After the lawsuit was filed, the company retained a group of physicians, including a coroner, to independently ascertain whether there was any basis for the allegations in the suit. The company retained a cardiac pathologist, a cardiac electrophysiologist, an emergency room physician, a chief forensic pathologist/coroner, as well as other medical experts including a toxicologist and a pharmacologist.
"After an examination of Ms. Fournier's medical records, pathology report and autopsy report, the physicians stated conclusively that there is no medical, scientific or factual evidence to support the Maryland Medical Examiner's report of 'caffeine toxicity' or that Ms. Fournier's consumption of two Monster Energy Drinks 24 hours apart contributed to, let alone was the cause of her untimely death," said Daniel Callahan, of Callahan & Blaine, one of Monster's lawyers.
"When the Maryland Medical Examiner was asked why her report contained the term 'caffeine toxicity,' she responded that it was because she had been told by Ms. Fournier's mother that Ms. Fournier had consumed an energy drink containing caffeine," Callahan said. "This was even though her report states that blood tests for caffeine levels were not done."
"In fact, the physicians, including a coroner, we asked to examine Ms. Fournier's medical records and autopsy report found no medical, scientific or factual evidence to support a finding of caffeine toxicity," Callahan said. "They said no caffeine blood level test was performed to determine if any caffeine had been ingested. There is no medical or scientific evidence that Ms. Fournier had any caffeine in her system at the time of cardiac arrest."
Finally, the physicians and a coroner examining Fournier's medical records said they found absolutely no connection between Fournier's alleged consumption of a Monster Energy drink and her unfortunate passing.
Moreover, recognized medical literature shows that even if Fournier had consumed caffeine prior to her death, caffeine would not have played any role in her cardiac arrest, according to both the physicians and the coroner who examined her records.
The Fournier lawsuit alleges that Fournier drank one 24-oz Monster Energy drink at about 5:30 p.m. on Dec. 16, 2011, without incident. It states that a full 24 hours later, on Dec. 17, she drank another 24-oz. Monster Energy drink, also without incident. A 24-oz. can of Monster Energy contains 240 milligrams of caffeine from all sources. This is less than a 12-oz. cup of Starbucks brewed coffee, which contains about 260 milligrams of caffeine. A 16-oz. cup of Starbucks brewed coffee contains about 330 milligrams of caffeine.
Approximately three hours after consuming the second beverage on Dec. 17, Fournier suffered a cardiac arrest. "At that point in time, according to numerous studies, caffeine from any caffeinated beverage she would have ingested on Friday evening would have completely dissipated and only about two-thirds of caffeine from the second beverage would have remained," Callahan said. "Moreover, evidence obtained in this case indicates that Ms. Fournier drank caffeinated coffee in the morning on a daily basis; her mother often took her to Starbucks; she also regularly drank energy drinks--all without incident."
Callahan said, "The Maryland Medical Examiner concluded that Ms. Fournier died of natural causes, and an independent pathologist hired by the State of Maryland concluded her cause of death to be cardiac fibrosis, which is a thickening or scarring of the cardiac tissue."
He said that the examination of Fournier's medical records by the physicians and coroner retained by Monster showed that prior to her death, Fournier suffered from several heart conditions known to increase the risk of cardiac arrest and sudden death, and that she had a family history of heart problems.
"Our deepest sympathies go out to Ms. Fournier's family. Monster is very sorry for the family's loss, but the facts do not support placing the blame of Ms. Fournier's untimely passing on Monster beverages," Callahan said.
"Millions of Monster Energy Drinks are safely consumed every day and there is not one direct link to a single death that we know of that has been proven," he said. "We are confident that Monster Energy Drinks are safe when consumed responsibly and in accordance with recommendations on our labels."
Based in Corona, Calif., Monster Beverage markets and distributes Monster Energy brand energy drinks, Monster Energy Extra Strength Nitrous Technology brand energy drinks, Java Monster brand noncarbonated "coffee + energy" drinks, X-Presso Monster brand noncarbonated espresso energy drinks, M3 Monster Energy Super Concentrate energy drinks, Monster Rehab noncarbonated energy drinks with electrolytes, Ubermonster energy drinks, Worx Energy shots and Peace Tea iced teas, as well as Hansen's natural sodas, apple juice and juice blends, multi-vitamin juices, Junior Juice beverages, Blue Sky beverages, Hubert's Lemonades, Vidration vitamin enhanced waters and PRE Probiotic drinks.