Caffeine Casualty: Cory Terry

Flat line alert on a heart monitor.

Cory Terry was a healthy and active 33-year-old construction worker. He had a 13-year-old son, and a grandmother, Patricia, with whom he was very close. He played basketball in his spare time, and regularly drank Red Bull hoping for an extra boost.

The dangerous interplay between exercise and energy drinks may have killed him.

In 2011, Terry drank a Red Bull in between basketball games at a Brooklyn middle school near his home. Moments later, he went into cardiac arrest and collapsed on the court. He was rushed to a medical center and later pronounced dead.

Shortly thereafter, Patricia Terry filed an $85 million wrongful death lawsuit against Red Bull. (The lawsuit never made it to trial, so presumably it has been settled.)

“He drank that stuff all the time,” Ms. Terry said. “I know he was healthy and I couldn’t find [any] other reason for why he died.”

Hold Red Bull Accountable

Energy Drinks and Exercise Can Be Deadly Combo

Numerous studies show that energy drinks increase the risk for the kind of cardiac trauma suffered by Cory Terry, especially when consumed before or during exercise.

A 2014 study found that “severe adverse events were also associated with these drinks, such as sudden or unexplained death, arrhythmia and heart attack (myocardial infarction). Our literature search confirmed that these conditions can be related to consumption of energy drinks.”

Professor Milou-Daniel Drici, who presented the research, stated, “The general public need to know that so-called ‘energy drinks’ have absolutely no place during or after physical exercise, as compared with other drinks designed for that purpose.”

Mr. Drici echoes Dr. Lauri Wright, a public health specialist who told us, “Research has shown that when children and teenagers performed in athletic events right after consuming energy drinks, there were more abnormal heart rates and other cardiovascular issues. They’re trying to get the edge on their performance, but in fact they’re harming their performance.”

And perhaps endangering their lives.

Red Bull Refuses to Acknowledge Health Risks

Cory Terry is not the first person to go into cardiac arrest and die after consuming energy drinks. He is part of a growing list that includes teens like Alex Morris and Anais Fournier, and formerly healthy adults like Shane Felts.

Morris and Fournier both had heart conditions, and Terry may have as well. But energy drink companies refuse to even acknowledge that their products put these consumers at greater risk, let alone to warn them.

Fight Big Energy

Until they strengthen their warning labels, energy drink companies can be held responsible for caffeine casualties like the ones above. That is why Red Bull settled the Terry lawsuit, and why Monster Energy settled with the families of Morris, Fournier, and Felts.

What’s less clear is why Big Energy refuses to own up to the dangers lurking in its products. All it would take is a label warning people with heart conditions, seizure disorders, diabetes, etc. iStock_000011057486_Large This warning would not only protect consumers—and potentially prevent tragedies like Cory Terry’s—it would also protect these companies in the event of litigation. (See right for the type of warning label advocated by the Center for Science in the Public Interest.)

Instead, Red Bull etc. dig their heels in harder, denying health risks that are increasingly evident and frightening.

Morgan & Morgan Now Pursuing Lawsuits Against Red Bull

Unwilling to stand idle in the face of this rising public health crisis, Morgan & Morgan is currently exploring personal injury lawsuits against Red Bull and its peers. We will hold these companies accountable as we did Big Tobacco, against whom we won $90 million in verdicts and settlements.

Red Bull is the bestselling energy drink in the world, but it’s not above the law. In October 2014, the company agreed to pay $13 million to consumers because it does not actually deliver any of its promised health benefits (heightened focus, athletic performance, etc.).

Red Bull doesn’t give you wings—or warnings. A mountain of research has linked energy drinks to heart palpitations, high blood pressure, chest pain, and a spike in stress hormones, among other side effects. But you’d never guess that from reading a Red Bull can.

Red Bull’s labels remain wholly inadequate. They warn against consumption only for children and pregnant women, and advise against mixing with alcohol. That’s not enough, and it puts consumers at risk of serious injury.

If you or someone you know has experienced heart problems, seizures, an irregular heartbeat, kidney failure, or another injury after drinking Red Bull, you may have cause to sue the company for compensation. Contact us today for a free case evaluation. Plaintiffs file lawsuits to cover things like unforeseen medical costs, pain and suffering, lost wages, and death.

To prevent future tragedies like Cory Terry’s, help us hold Red Bull accountable.