Monster energy drinks cited in five deaths reported to FDA

Monster energy drinks have been cited in five deaths reported to the Food and Drug Administration. The FDA says it has not established a direct link in any case and it's still investigating.

The reports, first disclosed by the New York Times, were requested under a Freedom of Information Act filed by the mother of a Maryland girl who died in December.

Anais Fournier died in December of 2011. The Hagerstown, Maryland girl was just 14 years old. Her family blames her death on two 24-ounce Monster energy drinks she consumed in less than 24 hours.

Fournier's family has now filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the California company that makes the drink.

"Anais died of caffeine toxicity in the setting of a cardiac arrhythmia," Fournier family attorney Kevin Goldman said.

Fournier's attorney says Fournier had an underlying mild heart condition not unlike about 10% of the population. He says he's obtained FDA documents showing other adverse reactions to the drink.

"The problem is these kids are drinking these energy drinks and they have an underlying condition. It's like pouring gasoline on a fire," Goldman said.

A spokesperson for the beverage company says it has sold more than eight billion of the drink worldwide, and that "Monster does not believe that its beverages are in any way responsible for the death of Ms. Fournier. Monster is unaware of any fatality anywhere that has been caused by its drinks. The Fournier family has chosen to file a lawsuit, which Monster intends to vigorously defend."

According to the lawsuit, the two Monster energy beverages Fournier drank contained a combined 480 milligrams of caffeine.

That's equivalent to about 21 eight-ounce servings of Coca-Cola or 19 eight-ounce servings of Pepsi.