A family from suburban Washington D.C. has filed a wrongful death suit against the Chicago-based makers of Four Loko, an alcoholic energy drink, after their 15-year-old son allegedly died after consuming two cans.
The Rupp family said the their son, John "Bo", drank the concoction while at a concert on Sept 26th 2010. and began acting erratically. Concert staff called the family to pick him up. When they got him to their home, he took off running.
He went onto a busy road and was struck and killed.The Rupps filed their suit against Phusion Projects, the makers of Four Loko, in Cook County Circuit Court. They said they want to raise awareness about the beverage, often referred to as "blackout in a can," as prom and graduate season arrives.
The suit alleges Phusion was "careless and negligent" in formulating this alcohol caffeine mixed beverage
The Chicago law firm of Cooney and Conway is serving as co-counsel to the Rupps.
Four Loko quickly earned a reputation as a dangerous beverage. This year Chicago's city council followed the lead of other cities and states and outlawed its sale in Chicago limits. The Food and Drug issued a health warning about the beverage in November 2010.
Four Loko released the following statement.
We are extremely saddened by this tragedy and our thoughts are with the Rupp family. This accident, and others like it, speak to the serious, societal concerns regarding the misuse of alcohol – alcohol abuse and underage drinking are problems we would all like to see discussed and solved.
We work very hard to ensure our products are consumed safely and responsibly by adults over the age of 21, and we have a vested interest – both personal and professional – in assuring the continued responsible consumption of our products. We are staunch supporters of the need for increased education, stronger enforcement of existing laws and personal responsibility. Those that sell or provide alcohol to minors should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
In November 2010, we voluntarily reformulated all of our products and have since produced only versions of Four Loko that do not contain caffeine, guarana, or taurine. Please find the press release here with more information about the reformulation.
We are in the process of reviewing the complaint. It is important to remember that because a complaint is filed, doesn’t mean the allegations in it have merit. We plan to defend this case in the courts rather than in the press, and we will do so vigorously.
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