Alcoholic beverages containing stimulants like caffeine are examples of defective design in products. These drinks are dangerous, often leading to extreme behavior, dangerous risk taking and tragic consequences.
The CDC Warns of Dangerous Products
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) agrees that such products are dangerous. Referred to as CABs, Caffeinated Alcoholic Beverages are sold premixed with caffeine and other stimulants. They often contain a much higher concentration of alcohol than beer and other ingredients tend to mask the intoxicating properties of alcohol.
According to the CDC, binge drinking is three times more likely in those who drink alcohol combined with energy drinks. In addition, CAB drinkers face twice the risk of being taken advantage of sexually, taking advantage of another person sexually or accepting a ride from a drunk driver.
An Uninsurable Product
One product in particular, Four Loko, is so dangerous that the manufacturer’s insurance company, Selective Insurance Company of South Carolina, refuses to cover the product for liability. Phusion Projects owns the brand and faces several lawsuits over the caffeinated alcoholic drink.
Tragic Consequences of Caffeinated Alcoholic Beverages
Selective Insurance is trying to remove itself from a lawsuit filed against Phusion Projects on behalf of Jason M. Keiran in case 2010-CA-24651 in the Circuit Court of the Ninth Judicial Circuit, Orange County, FL. Prior to Jason’s death on September 17, 2010, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had already warned Phusion Projects that the mixture of alcohol and caffeine was proven unsafe in several studies. In addition, many instances of extreme behavior and tragic deaths from drinking the product had already made the news. Phusion Projects knew of the inherent danger in Four Loko yet continued to market the product.
The insurer cites several instances that show Four Loco is essentially dangerous:
- In August 2010, a St. Petersburg driver who had been drinking Four Loko killed a father and three sons in a drunken crash.
- In October 2010, a man blacked out after drinking Four Loco. Police later arrested him after he broke into a home and defecated in the living room and kitchen.
- Another October 2010 incident took place in Roslyn, WA where nine students from Central Washington University were hospitalized after consuming Four Loko.
In the matter of Jason Keiran, the young man began drinking Four Loco the night before he died. After several containers of the beverage, he was unable to sleep. The following day, still without sleep, Jason experimented with his roommate’s gun and accidentally shot himself in the head.
The Selective Insurance complaint points out nine prior lawsuits, all claiming that Four Loko is inherently dangerous and must be seen as a defective product. The company hopes the court will order declaratory judgment that will relieve the insurer of any duty to defend, based on the policy’s liquor liability exclusion.
If you or someone you love suffered injury because of a defective product, our experienced product liability attorneys can help. We will meet with you at no cost to learn the facts of your case. Contact us to learn more about your legal rights, and our attorneys will help you decide if you should file a product liability lawsuit.