A lawsuit alleges that drinking Red Bull gave a Brooklyn man a heart attack, in what is believed to be the first wrongful death suit against the energy drink company, the New York Daily News reports.
Cory Terry, 33, died during a basketball game after drinking a full can. Now his family is suing the million-dollar corporation.
The popular drink has “extra stimulants to make it different than a cup of coffee,” lawyer Ilya Novofastovsky said. “They are more dangerous than what Red Bull lets on.”
Red Bull has not commented on the case, but a spokeswoman told the Huffington Post the company has sold 35 billion cans in 165 countries over the past 25 years “because health authorities across the world have concluded that Red Bull Energy Drink is safe to consume.”
However, according to the complaint, there have been nine fatalities worldwide that have been linked to Red Bull.
Terry’s grandmother, Patricia Terry, said the 33-year old father and construction worker was healthy, didn’t smoke, but drank Red Bull frequently.
“He drank that stuff all the time,” she said. “He said it perked him up.”
Terry died on the evening of Nov. 8, 2011 as he was playing basketball at a neighborhood school gym. Records say he drank the energy drink, became lightheaded and collapsed.
Autopsy reports say the cause of death was idiopathic cardiomyopathy (DCM), meaning his heart stopped. Among the known causes of DCM are illness, genetics, and alcoholism.
“I know he was healthy and I couldn’t find no other reason for why he died,” his grandmother Patricia said.
She previously filed a lawsuit against the city, claiming there was no defibrillator in the school gym where he was playing basketball and that it took 40 minutes for an ambulance to get to the scene. That case against the city is still pending.
Previously, other energy drink makers have faced controversy following reports of deaths linked to their products.
One 14-year-old girl died from cardiac arrest after drinking two, 24-ounce cans of Monster energy drinks in a 24-hour period; 5-Hour Energy drinks have been cited in reports of 13 deaths over a four-year period, the Huffington Post reports.
The Food and Drug Administration received 21 nonfatal reports from doctors and hospitals linked to Red Bull between 2004 and 2012, according to the NY Daily News.
“We’re trying to make this death mean something,” Novofastovsky said. “We’re trying to make sure that we prevent more.”
Sources: New York Daily News, Huffington Post