The family of an Ohio high school student who lost his life last year is taking legal action. The family has filed a wrongful death suit against several defendants, including Amazon. The family claims that the defendants violated Ohio law by selling the powdered caffeine that ultimately killed their son.
In May 2014, the 18-year-old high school senior experienced a seizure as well as cardiac arrhythmia before passing away. The coroner who examined his body stated that the young man had died due to acute caffeine toxicity. When his room was searched, multiple bags of powdered caffeine were discovered.
In the wrongful death suit, the family asserts that the defendants sold pure caffeine powder under the label of “dietary supplement,” which the family believes was misleading. The family claims in the suit that the defendants should have labeled the caffeine powder as an over-the-counter stimulant instead of a dietary supplement. The family also alleges that it is difficult to discern an acceptable dose of the powder from a lethal dose, and the defendants failed to adequately warn about that difficulty. According to the FDA, one teaspoon of caffeine powder is the equivalent to approximately 25 cups of coffee.
The Ohio family is seeking monetary damages in the wrongful death suit. They are also petitioning the FDA to ban pure caffeine powder. Any time an Ohio family loses a loved one due to the apparent negligence of a third party — or multiple third parties — then that family has the right to take legal action in an attempt to recover applicable damages to compensate them for their loss.
Source: Reuters, “Family sues Amazon.com, others over Ohio student’s caffeine overdose death“, Kim Palmer, March 6, 2015