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Issue Date: Vol. 54, No. 1, January 2014, Posted On: 12/19/2013

Federal Judge Throws Out Monster Beverage Suit Against San Francisco City Attorney

Emily Jed
TAGS: vending machine beverages, Monster lawsuit, Monster Beverage Corp., San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera, Judge Virginia A. Phillips, Unfair Competition Law and the Sherman Food Drug and Cosmetic Law

SAN FRANCISCO -- A federal judge has dismissed Monster Beverage Corp.'s lawsuit seeking to block San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera from forcing the energy drink maker to lower the caffeine content in its products and change its marketing practices.

The dismissal of the suit by U.S. District Court Judge Virginia A. Phillips clears the way for a state court action, filed in May by Herrera, to proceed. His suit claims the nation's largest energy drink manufacturer is violating California law by marketing to young people despite the known dangers highly caffeinated products pose to their health.

"Monster Energy's federal suit was a meritless ploy to stop our state consumer protection case, and I'm grateful to the court for issuing an unequivocal dismissal," said Herrera. "It's my hope that Monster Energy will reform its marketing practices before regulators or courts force them to."

Herrera's complaint alleges that Monster Beverage Corp.'s business and marketing practices violate California's Unfair Competition Law and the Sherman Food, Drug and Cosmetic Law. If the San Francisco City Attorney wins the suit, Monster Energy could be enjoined from continuing "illegal conduct deemed harmful to consumers and competitors," and forced to pay civil penalties and restitution.

Corona, CA-based Monster denies marketing to children and says its drinks are safe and their ingredients are clearly labeled. It claims Herrera is violating its right to free speech and that his claims are preempted by FDA regulations.

"Millions of Monster Energy Drinks are safely consumed every day. Monster is confident that Monster Energy Drinks are safe," the energy drink maker stated.

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