- The biggest energy-drink maker in the U.S., Monster Beverage Corp. has failed to persuade a state judge that a lawsuit attacking its energy drinks should be dismissed.
- The judge's ruling on March 5 sustains the complaint filed by San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera against Monster, accusing it of mislabeling its energy drinks as dietary supplements, selling unsafe beverages, and engaging in misleading business practices by marketing to children and teens.
- The lawsuit, filed last May, also contends that Monster fails to warn consumers about the health consequences of drinking its beverages, promotes unsafe consumption, encourages individuals to take its products with alcohol, and makes misleading claims about the benefits of its drinks.
Monster expressed confidence towards its grounds for dismissal in this December press release. But as it turns out, the judge rejected Monster's argument that the FDA has primary jurisdiction over claims rather than the state. With respect to Monster's statement that the Nutritional Labeling and Education Act (NLEA) preempted Herrera's claim that the company failed to issue proper warnings about its beverages, the judge ruled: "The NLEA does not preempt the People from establishing that a caffeine warning is required under state law."
Monster did gain one point in its arguments: The contention that Monster's beverages are misbranded as dietary supplements was struck down. Still, it looks like Monster has a long, tough road ahead of it in dealing with this suit.