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Hagerstown teen's death prompts lawsuit against Monster Energy

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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says it's investigating reports of five deaths and a non-fatal heart attack linked to highly caffeinated Monster Energy Drinks.

The agency acknowledged the adverse reports Monday, but FDA spokeswoman Shelly Burgess says the allegations, which date back to 2004, don't prove the drinks caused the deaths.

"As with any reports of a death or injury the agency receives, we take them very seriously and investigate diligently," Shelly Burgess said in a statement

The reports claim that people had adverse reactions after they consumed Monster Energy Drink, which comes in 24-ounce cans and contain 240 milligrams of caffeine, or seven times the amount of the caffeine in a 12-ounce cola.

The news follows last week's filing in California of a wrongful death suit by the parents of a 14-year-old, Hagerstown, Md., girl who died after drinking two, 24-ounce Monster Beverage Corp. drinks in 24 hours.

They say their daughter, Anais Fournier, went into cardiac arrest after drinking two 24-ounce Monster energy drinks in less than 24 hours.

The family’s attorney says the teen had an underlying mild heart condition, not unlike about 10 percent of the population.

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

“The problem is these kids are drinking these energy drinks, they have an underlying condition, and it's like putting gasoline on a fire," he added.

But a spokesperson for beverage company says it has sold more than eight million 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..."

Anais’s mother Wendy Crossland appeared on the Anderson Cooper Show last week and said she is turning her grief into action.

"I've been in touch with senators and congress people...to try to force the FDA to step up and regulate these and make the energy companies tell everything in these drinks and how much...you don't know how much caffeine is in there," Crossland said.

Shares of the Corona, Calif.-based company plunged $7.20, or 13.5 percent, to $46.12 in trading Monday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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