Showing posts with label Children. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Children. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Update on investigation of effects of "energy drinks": attorneys general claim company that makes "5-Hour Energy" is withholding documents

As you know, there has been a lot of attention during the last few months on whether so called "energy drinks" are dangerous - particularly to children.  (Go here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here for some of my previous posts on this topic.)

Now, here is the latest: As part of a of a 33-state investigation into the safety and marketing claims of 5-Hour Energy, several attorneys general have claimed that the maker of 5-Hour Energy is withholding vital information that is necessary for the ongoing investigation.  To gain access to those documents, Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum filed a petition last month in Multnomah County Circuit Court calling for an order that would force Living Essentials, LLC, the marketer of 5-Hour Energy, to hand over complete documents that the attorney general’s office has been requesting since January 2013. The energy drink maker countered by asking another judge to set the demand aside claiming that the only data it has failed to provide is proprietary information regarding the amounts of certain ingredients contained in the products, arguing that release of that information could benefit competitors.  For more information go to AboutLawsuits.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

New study on possible effects of "energy drinks"

If you have been following the controversy over whether so-called "energy drinks" are dangerous (particularly to minors), you will be interested in this story on a new study that suggests that popular drinks like Monster, Red Bull and Rockstar may affect the way the heart beats, causing it to have more forceful heart contractions, which increases potential heart risks.

I have posted a number of stories on this topic.  See here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Some senators call on manufacturers of caffeinated "energy" drinks to stop marketing their products to children

Since last year there has been a lot of discussion on whether highly caffeinated drinks are dangerous - particularly to children.  AboutLawsuits is now reporting that four Democratic Senators are calling on manufacturers of popular energy drinks to stop marketing their products to children, following increasing concerns about health risks. The letters were sent out to the makers of several different energy drinks, including Red Bull, 5-hour Energy, Monster Energy and Pepsi Co. Inc. The letters ask the energy drink companies to stop advertising to children under the age of 18, to provide information on the label about the total amount of caffeine in the products and to change their policies so that they are not selling energy drinks in schools or at school events. For more information go here.

For my previous posts on this topic go here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

San Francisco files claim related to Monster Energy drink

With all the negative publicity so-called "energy drinks" have been getting lately (see here for recent stories and links), it is perhaps not surprising that the City of San Francisco has filed a lawsuit against the makers of Monster energy drink, alleging that the company is endangering youth by marketing the highly caffeinated energy drink to children despite the potential health risks of energy drinks.  AboutLawsuits has more on the claims here.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Monster energy drink fights back

As you probably remember there has been a lot of discussion on the dangers of caffeinated drinks like Monster, Red Bull and others recently. See here for some links to my previous posts.  Reportedly, Illinois and a New York county were considering restricting the sale of energy drinks to minors.  See here and here.  The FDA is looking into designing regulations. See here.

Now, at least one energy drink manufacturer has decided to fight back.  AboutLawsuits is reporting that the makers of Monster Energy drink have filed a lawsuit against the San Francisco City Attorney, challenging attempts to regulate the company's marketing strategies in order to protect children from potentially dangerous side effects.  The manufacturer is arguing that the city is violating Monster’s free speech rights.  And they may very well be correct.  By challenging the marketing strategy rather than the product itself, the government has opened the door to this attack. You can read the full story (and a copy of the complaint) here.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Parents arrested again for allowing child to die for religious reasons; should they be liable in tort?

Back in 2009 I wrote a series of comments on whether we should recognize a cause of action against parents who allow their children to die due to their refusal to seek medical attention for religious reasons. See here and follow the links. At the time I was following all the publicity surrounding criminal trials in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania against the parents of children who had died under those circumstances.
The parents in the Pennsylvania case were found guilty of involuntary manslaughter and child endangerment but were only placed on probation conditioned on maintaining medical treatment for their children.
Today it is being reported that the parents have been arrested again after they allowed another child to die after refusing basic medical care. See here, here and here.
So let me repeat part of my comment from October 2009: If states have the authority to impose criminal sanctions for conduct that the actors claim is based on religious faith, couldn't states recognize a cause of action in tort against the parents, or the church they belong to, in a case like this?
I have not updated my research on this subject recently, but as far as I remember, the last time I taught the subject, there were very few cases that imposed civil liability in similar cases. Two cases cited often on this issue are Lundman v McKown, 530 NW2d 807 (Minn App 1995) and Quigley v First Church of Christ Scientist (Calif App 1998). In both cases, the courts rejected the cause of action against the church itself, but in Lundman the court recognized a claim against some members of the church who, according to the court, owed a duty to the child.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Possible ban on energy drink sales to minors?

As you probably remember there has been a lot of discussion on the dangers of caffeinated drinks like Monster, Red Bull and others recently. See here for some links to my previous posts. The controversy has now reached the point where the state of Illinois and a New York county are considering new legislation that would restrict the sale of energy drinks to minors. AboutLawsuits has the full story here.

 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

More on the controversy over "high energy" (ie, caffeinated) drinks

As you probably remember there has been a lot of discussion on the dangers of caffeinated drinks like Monster, Red Bull and others recently.  See here and here for some links to my previous posts. Now AboutLawsuits blog is reporting on a new study that suggests that side effects of energy drinks could interfere with the electrical operation of the heart for some people, potentially increasing the risk of death.  Go here for the full story.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Monster Energy drink responds to allegations its product caused teen's death

Back in November I reported on a wrongful death claim filed by the parents of a teenager in which they argued the high caffeine content of the popular Monster Energy drink contributed to the teenager's death.  See here. Since then, there's been a lot of discussion about whether the drink (and others like it) are dangerous.  See here, here, here, here and here

Yesterday, the company that manufactures Monster Energy issued a press release attacking the claims raised by the family of the teenager.  The company indicates that it retained a group of physicians and a coroner to look into his death, and that they found no link between her death and Monster energy drinks. The opinion of the company’s paid experts is at odds with the findings of the Maryland Medical Examiner, who claimed the girl died of caffeine toxicity.  Go here for more on the story.

NY Review of Books publishes article on lead poisoning

The New York Review of Books has published an article on the issues related to lead poisoning cases called "Lead Poisoning: The Ignored Scandal."  You can read it here.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Colorado Supreme Court may be the next to decide whether to recognize a claim for the wrongful death of a fetus

As you may remember, about a year ago, the Alabama Supreme Court decided in a case called Hamilton v. Scott that a parent may bring a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of a stillborn child that was incapable of life outside the womb.  See here. Then, last November, a new lawsuit was filed in Nebraska asking the court to recognize a claim for the wrongful death of a fetus for the first time in that state.  See here.

Now comes news that a case in Colorado is raising the same question.  As so often happens in cases that raise this question, the wrongful death statute refers to the death of a person and the defendant is arguing that a fetus should not be considered to be a person.  What's a bit unusual about the argument in that particular case is that the defendant is a Catholic hospital.  The case was dismissed initially when the court interpreted the word "person" to include only someone who had been born, but the plaintiffs recently filed an appeal before the Colorado Supreme Court.  The Denver WestWord News has more on the story here.

The facts, as you would expect, are tragic.  In a nutshell, a pregnant woman went to the hospital with shortness of breath where eventually she died.  The hospital staff did not conduct an emergency C-section believing the twins the woman was carrying had died too.  Having consulted experts, the husband has now filed a claim alleging malpractice.

Evidently, the case raises an important issue that has been addressed by other jurisdictions.  Currently, the majority view seems to be that a cause of action is allowed if the plaintiff can show the fetus was viable at the time of the incident, while a few jurisdictions recognize the cause of action regardless of the state of gestation and a few others which do not recognize the cause of action unless the child survived independently of the mother before dying.

NOTE to my current students: this is a topic we will cover in detail later in the semester.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

New lawsuit alleges "energy drink" delivers no more energy than coffee

At a time when there is an on-going debate as to whether so called "energy drinks" are dangerous products because, at least in part, they have too much caffeine (see here), a new lawsuit claims exactly the opposite.  The ABA Journal is reporting (here) that a class action lawsuit filed last Tuesday attacks the marketing claims by the makers of Red Bull that the energy drink “gives you wings” which they are apparently interpreting is a claim that Red Bull improves physical and mental performance. The suit claims the popular drink is no better at providing energy than a cup of coffee.  Reuters has more on the story.

UPDATE 2/6/13:  AboutLawsuits.com has more details on the story here.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Update on the debate on the dangers of highly caffeinated "energy drinks"

Not too long ago I posted a series of posts on recent reports related to the debate on whether the so called "energy drinks" contained dangerous levels of caffeine.  See here, here, here and here.

In the most recent of these posts, I reported on an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association, available here, detailing how the ingredients in energy drinks may be harmful to some individuals.  

Adding fuel to the fire, yesterday The New York Times reported that three Democratic lawmakers sent letters to 14 marketers of highly caffeinated energy drinks requesting information about the products’ ingredients and any company studies showing their risks and benefits to children and young people. Go here for the NYT article.

In addition, AboutLawsuits and Injured have commented on the subject again here and here. Injured's post reports that emergency room visits associated with energy drinks have doubled in the past four years, according to a study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

UPDATE 1-21-13: AboutLawsuits has more on the story here.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

More on the debate regarding the caffeine levels in "energy drinks"

Not too long ago I posted a series of posts on recent reports related to the debate on whether the so called "energy drinks" contained dangerous levels of caffeine.  See here, here and here.  Now comes news that the Journal of the American Medical Association has published an article on the subject, available here, detailing how the ingredients in energy drinks may be harmful to some individuals.  AboutLawsuits has more on the story here.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Can too much caffeine cause death (part 3)? FDA discloses report on yet another "energy drink" mentioned in multiple deaths reports

Following up on the two stories I recently posted on the FDA's reports on the possible risks associated with so called "energy drinks" which contain high levels of caffeine, the New York Times is reporting today that the FDA has released records on fatality and injury filings that mentioned the possible involvement of three top-selling products. In my previous post I mentioned the report on "5-hour energy" (see here).  The NYT article focuses on the report on a product called "Rockstar Energy."  You can read the full article here.   In addition to the reports on these two products, last October, the F.D.A. confirmed that it had received five fatality reports that cited Monster Energy.

UPDATE (11-19-12): About Lawsuits has more on the story here.      

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Can too much caffeine cause death (part 2)? FDA reveals "5 Hour Energy" drink mentioned in 13 deaths reports

Yesterday I posted a comment on a recent case filed against the manufacturer of an "energy drink" that alleges the high level of caffeine in the drink contributed to cause someone's death.  Go here for that story. 

Today, the New York Times has published a story (here) discussing the fact that the FDA have received reports of thirteen deaths over the last four years that cited the possible involvement of 5-Hour Energy, a highly caffeinated energy drink.

One might think that thirteen incidents in four years may not sound like much.  But, as the NYT story states, that has to be looked at in the context of the number of fatality reports filed with the F.D.A. that relate to all products.  In 2010, for example, the F.D.A. received a total of 17 fatality reports that mentioned a dietary supplement or a weight loss product, two broad categories that cover more than 50,000 products.

So, as I said in my post yesterday, can too much caffeine cause death? Perhaps manufacturers of "energy drinks" should be concerned.

UPDATE (11/15/12):  The blog Injured has more information here.

UPDATE (11/18/12):  About Lawsuits has picked up the story here.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Can too much caffeine cause death? Perhaps manufacturers of "energy drinks" should be concerned

Friends of the blog at Abnormal Use have posted a short update on an issue that has been raised before regarding so called "energy drinks." According to a recently filed claim, the parents of a 14-year old are arguing that their daughter went into “cardiac arrhythmia due to caffeine toxicity” after two drinking two 24-ounce cans of Monster Energy on consecutive days. According to the report, the high caffeine level of the drink complicated an existing heart valve condition in the teen. She was taken to the hospital but died six days later.

Obviously, the big question is going to be whether the Monster Energy drink should be considered to be unreasonably dangerous given its high level of caffeine. This is one of the main allegations in the lawsuit. Simply put, that the product is defective in its design because it simply contains too much caffeine.

Accoring to Abnormal Use, one can of Monster Energy contain 240 mg of caffeine, while a single venti (20oz) cup of regular coffee from Starbucks contains 415mg of caffeine.

This seems to suggest that the level of caffeine in the drink is actually not that high.  But this, in my opinion, does not take into account what I think is the most interesting part of the issue:   the marketing scheme for the product. This is a product that is clearly targetting younger consumers. For example, it sponsors “X-games” type activities. For that reason, the question that needs to be explored is not whether the level of caffeine is OK when compared with a cup of coffee, but whether the level of caffeine is too high for younger consumers. I don’t know the answer to that….

Also, the Monster drinnk cans contain a warning that states: “Limit 3 cans per day. Not recommended for children, pregnant women, or people sensitive to caffeine.” 

Apparently it is unclear whether this warning was on the cans when the plaintiffs’ daughter consumed the Monster Energy, but assuming that it was, the question remains whether the warning should be considered to be adequate under the law. 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Wrongful death of a fetus

Just days after we finished discussing pre-natal torts in class, comes news that a lawsuit has been filed in Nebraska asking the court to recognize a claim for the wrongful death of a fetus for the first time.  At issue in the case is the applicability of a state statute that extended legal protections to fetuses at any stage of development.  Although the law is not a wrongful death statute itself, the plaintiffs are arguing it should be taken into account when deciding the wrongful death case.  For more on this story go to The San Francisco Chronicle and the ABA Journal.com.

The issue, of course, is not new.  You may remember that last February, the Alabama Supreme Court decided in a case called Hamilton v. Scott that a parent may bring a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of a stillborn child that was incapable of life outside the womb.  See here.  And, as you may also know the wrongful death statute in Illinois recognizes a claim for the wrongful death of a fetus.  It is not clear whether this is a majority approach or even a "trend" among jurisdictions.  Last time I checked, the majority view on this subject was to "draw the line" at viability.  The third option, followed by another minority of states, is to recognize the wrongful death claim only if the child is born alive, survives for an instant on his or her own and then dies.  Those states draw the line at birth.  

Saturday, November 3, 2012

New report on ATV injuries and children



A new report on injuries suffered by children riding all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) indicates that manufacturer warnings and parental supervision are doing little to keep underage drivers off ATVs resulting in a disproportionate number of severe injuries among children from ATV accidents.  The American Academy of Pediatrics issued a statement last week, warning that labels placed on ATVs that indicate they are only to be used by those older than 16 are ineffective. The academy also indicated that dealer-sponsored training is infrequent and generally ignored by young drivers.  Drivers ages 16 and under make up 40% of all ATV accident injuries, AAP noted. However, less than 35% of those young people involved in such accidents were wearing helmets at the time. AboutLawsuits.com has more information and links here.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Standard of care that applies to children?

This re-post does not really have anything to do with torts but because in two days we will cover the standard of care that applies to children, I am going to post it here.  It comes from the very funny blog "Say What?" which collects true funny stories from real life cases.  In this particular case, a teenager apparently got some citations (for speeding, I guess) but did not tell his parents (both attorneys).  As a result a warrant was issued.  The parents then filed a motion to withdraw the warrant in which they stated:
2. Defendant is a teenage boy and therefore, as a matter of law, doesn’t have a lick of good sense. Despite the fact that his parents are licensed attorneys, Defendant felt it was the better course to not tell them about the citations. Therefore, upon information and belief, the dog ate the citations.
When submitting the story to "Say What?", the judge added  “After wiping the tears from my eyes, I signed the order as Municipal Court Judge/Mother of a Teenage Son.”