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Red Bull Energy Drink Blamed on Young Father's Death

Posted by Steven G. Brill | Nov 01, 2013 | 0 Comments

Another death that has been blamed on the popular Red Bull energy drink is at the center of a wrongful death lawsuit filed against the drink maker.

A 33-year-old father died during a basketball game after consuming the highly caffeinated beverage, according to The New York Daily News. His family blames the energy drink maker in its products liability lawsuit.

The man, according to his grandmother, was a healthy, active, construction worker who never smoked and who was the father of a 13-year-old boy. He enjoyed his Red Bull and was, according to his grandmother, an avid drinker of the product. "He drank that stuff all the time. He said it perked him up," she told The Daily News.

According to records, the man was playing basketball at a gym on the night of November 8, 2011. He drank a can of Red Bull after about 45 minutes of play, felt lightheaded, and collapsed. His cause of death, reported The Daily News, is listed as idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). In other words, his heart stopped. DCM may be caused by a number of issues; however, the medic's report noted the consumption of Red Bull prior to the man's death.

The complaint indicates that nine deaths, globally, have been tied to Red Bull and also note that research has found that the drink is associated with potential health issues, specifically for teens and people of all ages who exercise, according to The Daily News. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) received 21 reports from physicians or hospitals between 2004 and 2012 that tied Red Bull with a broad array of reactions such as fatigue, dizziness, and chest pain, to name just a few, according to records. Previously, the agency confirmed 28 deaths that were suspected to have been associated with energy drinks and, according to a 2009 federal study, some 13,000 emergency room visits were blamed on the drinks.

Dr. Daniel Fabricant, director of the Division of Dietary Supplement Programs at the FDA, told The Daily News that research is underway concerning the heavily caffeinated beverages. "If we find that something is dangerous to consumers, we'll certainly take action," he said. To date, no warnings have been issued by the agency.

Red Bull asserts that their energy drink "provides no more energy than a cup of coffee or a caffeine pill," according toScience World Report. The deceased man's family's attorney argues that Red Bull contains more stimulants than a typical cup of coffee, rendering the beverage more dangerous than what Red Bull advertises, according to The Daily News. Meanwhile, a 2011 study published in the journal Pediatrics notes that the large caffeine consumption seen in Red Bull and other energy drinks has been tied to responses that include seizures, mania, stroke, and death.


  • The New York Daily News; Brooklyn man killed by drinking Red Bull, $85 million lawsuit alleges; Oren Yaniv; October 28, 2013;
  • Business Insider; Erin Fuchs; October 28, 2013; Red Bull Sued For $85 Million After The Energy Drink Allegedly Killed A Brooklyn Father;
  • Science World Report; Brooklyn Man Allegedly Killed from Drinking Red Bull: Family Files $85 Million Lawsuit; Kathleen Lees; October 28, 2013

About the Author

Steven G. Brill

Steven Brill is a founding Partner of Sullivan Brill, LLP, which was established in 2001.  Mr. Brill concentrates his practice to Federal and State Criminal Defense, and Post-Conviction Litigation.  Steven earned a BA in history at the George Washington University and graduated with cum laude ho...


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