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Court Dismisses Monster Energy Suit Against S.F.

Dec 17, 2013, 6:16 AM
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A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by Monster Beverage Corp. that sought to block San Francisco city attorney Dennis Herrera's own suit against Monster. 

U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips' ruling cleared the way for a suit that Herrera filed in May in San Francisco Superior Court, alleging that Monster is violating California's Unfair Competition Law and the Sherman Food, Drug and Cosmetic Law through illegal conduct deemed harmful to consumers and competitors--specifically, by marketing highly caffeinated drinks to children as young as six years old.

Herrera's suit contends that pediatric studies have shown that the energy drinks "may lead to significant morbidity in adolsecents" from elevated blood pressure, brain seizures and severe cardiac events. 

Monster’s suit, filed in April in California U.S. District Court, charged that Herrera was making illegal demands that Monster change its formulations (reduce caffeine) and its marketing practices. Monster sought to enjoin the demands, which, it argued, are preempted by federal law and prohibited by the First and Fourteenth Amendments. 

In response to the decision, Monster released a statement pointing out that Judge Phillips had in three previous instances addressing whether the sale of Monster Energy drinks comply with California consumer protection laws dismissed the claims, ruling that the claims were preempted subject to the primary jurisdication of the FDA.

Monster said it's confident that the California state court will find, as the litigation proceeds, that all claims regarding the safety of its products are preempted and subject to the FDA's primary jurisdiction. 

"Monster is also confident that the state court will find...that the slogans on its cans are not actionable and, even if they were, that a substantial body of scientific literature validates the performance enhancing features of Monster's energy drinks," the company stated.

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