The New York Daily News today reported that the family of Brooklyn man who consumed a can of Red Bull shortly before suffering a heart attack is planning to file an $85 million wrongful death lawsuit against the energy drink company. While Monster Beverage Company is facing at least two lawsuits claiming wrongful death as a result of consumption of the company’s energy drinks, this new case is believed to be the first of its kind filed against Red Bull.
The suit alleges that Cory Terry, who was 33 years old at his time of death, was playing basketball in early November 2011. After approximately 45 minutes on the court, Terry drank a can of Red Bull, and, according to records from that day, soon became lightheaded and collapsed. He died shortly thereafter.
Doctors said that the cause of Terry’s death was idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathym, also known as DCM, a form of heart failure. DCM may be the result of a variety of causes, including virus infection, genetics and alcoholism, and most often affects relatively young people, ranging from 20 to 60 years old, according to a Netherlands Heart Journal study published by the National Institutes of Health.
Although it’s unknown if consumption of energy drinks has in the past been tied to DCM, the medic’s report noted that Terry drank Red Bull before he died. Terry’s grandmother Patricia Terry said that while he frequently drank Red Bull, it was his consumption of the beverage that day that caused his death.
“I know he was healthy, and I couldn’t find no other reason for why he died,” she told The Daily News.
Ilya Novofastovsky , the attorney representing Terry’s family told The Daily News that Red Bull contains “extra stimulants that make it different than a cup of coffee, and that the energy drink is “more dangerous than what Red Bull lets on.”
The lawsuit cites nine other deaths linked to consumption of Red Bull and notes scientific studies which indicate possible health risks associated with energy drinks.
A Red Bull spokeswoman declined to address the case, however, she told The News that “health authorities across the world have concluded that Red Bull Energy Drink is safe to consume” and cited sales of 35 billion cans in 165 countries over the past 25 years.
The consumption of energy drinks and possible links to health-related problems is an issue currently being examined by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (F.D.A.). Last year, the agency released a now highly publicized list of “adverse events,” including death and illness, from June 2005 to late 2012 in which consumption of energy drinks (specifically those marketed as dietary supplements) may have been involved. And according to The Daily News, between 2004 and 2012, the F.D.A. received 21 reports from doctors or hospitals in which Red Bull may have been associated with a variety of health issues including fatigue, dizziness and chest pain.