In Monday's lawsuit, filed in San Francisco, Mr. Herrera alleged Monster was violating California law by marketing its drinks to children as young as six years old, despite warnings from public-health authorities that highly caffeinated products can cause brain seizures and cardiac arrests among adolescents.
"Monster Energy is unique among energy drink makers for the extent to which it targets children and youth in its marketing, despite the known risks its products pose to young people's health and safety," Mr. Herrera said Monday.
Michael Sitrick, a Monster spokesman, said the beverage company intends to "vigorously defend" itself against the lawsuit. "Mr. Herrera appears to be motivated by publicity rather than fact or science," Mr. Sitrick said.
Monster said it doesn't market to children and that its energy drinks are safe, with a typical can of its 16-ounce energy drink containing 160 milligrams of caffeine, or 10 mg per ounce, which is roughly half the caffeine per ounce of Starbucks coffee.
Suggestion for Monster Beverage: announce an offer to redeem empty energy-drink cans for morning-after birth control pills. You'll never be hassled for marketing to children again.