POSTED: Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - 12:15pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - 12:19pm
NBC NATIONAL NEWS — The parents of a 14-year-old Hagerstown, Maryland girl who died in December are suing the maker of Monster Energy Drink, claiming caffeine in the product contributed to her death.
Anais Fournier, of Hagerstown, went into cardiac arrest after drinking two 24-ounce Monster drinks within a 24-hour period, according to a complaint filed Friday in California Superior Court in Riverside.
Hers is one of five deaths and a non-fatal heart attack the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is investigating in connection to the energy drinks.
"She was upstairs watching a movie with her boyfriend, and he came running down and said, 'There's something wrong with Anais," her mother said.
Fournier was rushed to the hospital but never regained consciousness.
She was later pronounced dead.
Investigations don't prove the drinks caused the deaths or Fournier's heart attack, FDA spokesperson Shelly Burgess said.
Corona, California based Monster said it doesn't believe its beverages are responsible for any deaths.
An autopsy found that Fournier died of cardiac arrhythmia due to caffeine toxicity that impeded her heart's ability to pump blood.
She suffered from an inherited disorder that can weaken blood vessels.
Fournier's mother said that her daughter was screened regularly and was never given any caffeine restrictions.
She said she wants to see the FDA regulate energy drinks.
Currently, it does not limit the amount of caffeine in energy drinks, or who can purchase them.
"It could be somebody else's daughter, somebody else's son," she said.
Monster says it will vigorously fight the lawsuit.
"As a company, we vehemently deny that drinking two cans of Monster Energy by itself can cause a death from caffeine toxicity," the company said in a statement to NBC News. "Two 16-ounce cans of Monster Energy Drinks contain less or a similar amount of caffeine than one 16-ounce cup of filtered coffee from the leading coffee house."