Durant Mom Sues Energy Drink After Teen Collapse - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

Durant Mom Sues Energy Drink After Teen Collapse


DURANT, OK -- A Bryan County mother is suing an energy drink company, claiming the caffeinated beverage caused her son to have a heart attack that left him with brain damage.

The drink has several ingredients including caffeine and ginseng, and is designed to give people a boost, but in the lawsuit, the family claims it is too dangerous to be on store shelves.

The lawsuit filed against Monster Energy says the teenager bought and consumed the energy drink before collapsing during a church activity in November 2011. "He passed out and then the youth pastor and our pastor Bill Ledbetter did CPR," says church assistant Vonnie Houser.

According to court papers, the teenager who is now 17 was rushed to the hospital in cardiac arrest with no pulse or blood pressure. After being stabilized, he was transferred from MCSO in Durant to OU Children's Hospital, and then to a rehab facility in Oklahoma City.

"When he first came back, his speech was a little messed up and he could remember you, but it was short term," says church employee Vonnie Houser.

Family attorney David Burrage says that during the heart attack, the teen's brain was deprived of oxygen, causing damage that will affect him for the rest of his life, and that the drink was to blame.

"He hasn't been able to go to church camps and overnight things since then, so a lot of the games that he plays are just games we can sit down and play together," says youth pastor Jimmy Moore.

The lawsuit filed on behalf of Angela Wheat on January 23 argues that the drink has an "undisclosed high level of caffeine" and is defective and unreasonably dangerous to consumers, and seeks at least $75,000 dollars in damages.

In their response, the attorney for Monster Energy, Mark Morrison, denies the allegations. On the bottom of the back, a warning printed on the can says to "consume responsibly, limit 3 cans per day, and not recommended for children, pregnant women, or people sensitive to caffeine."

The teenager continues to recover and has returned to school. "He was probably where he needed to be at the time when it happened, because both of our pastors knew CPR," says Houser.

According to a report in the New York Times, the FDA has five reports of deaths involving the drink, but it is unclear whether that was the cause. The lawsuit also implicates the owner of the Durant convenience store where the teen bought the drink. So far, no hearing dates have been set.