The family of a Washington D.C. teen has filed a wrongful death lawsuit in Cook County against Phusion Projects, the maker of the alcoholic beverage, Four Loko. According to the family, 15-year old Bo Rupp allegedly drank two cans of Four Loko the night he died in September 2010, and the family claims that the drink caused him to lose touch with reality. The boy died that night after being hit by a car near his home.
The original Four Loko formulation was a combination of malt liquor, caffeine, taurine, and guarana. When alcohol and caffeine are combined, drinkers have reported a reduction in the effects normally associated with alcohol consumption. As a result, consumers of these types of drinks tend to drink excessive amounts of alcohol to feel the desired effects.
In November of 2010, the Food and Drug Administration issued a warning to makers of drinks such as Four Loko, stating that caffeine was an unsafe food additive when combined with alcohol. In response, Phusion Projects removed the caffeine from its product.
As a Chicago personal injury and product liability lawyer, I urge adults to be responsible in their consumption of alcohol, and to avoid products that combine alcohol with caffeine. These types of products have been shown to be unsafe and, as may be the case here, their consumption can lead to disastrous results.