The complaint is believed to be the first wrongful death suit against the energy drink maker. The beverage contains 'extra stimulants that make it different than a cup of coffee,' lawyer Ilya Novofastovsky contends. 'They are more dangerous than what Red Bull lets on.'
Susan Watts/New York Daily News
Cory Terry, who died in 2011 after downing Red Bull during a basketball game.
Red Bull didn't give him wings — it gave him a heart attack, a bombshell lawsuit alleges.
Brooklyn father Cory Terry, 33, died during a basketball game after downing the caffeine-laden beverage — and his relatives are blaming the world's largest energy drink maker.
Their $85 million lawsuit, to be filed Monday, is believed to be the first wrongful death suit against Red Bull.
The popular drink contains "extra stimulants that make it different than a cup of coffee," said lawyer Ilya Novofastovsky. "They are more dangerous than what Red Bull lets on."
Red Bull declined to address any particular case. But a spokeswoman says the company has sold some 35 billion cans in 165 countries over the past 25 years "because health authorities across the world have concluded that Red Bull Energy Drink is safe to consume."
Susan Watts/New York Daily News
Patricia Terry, grandmother of Cory Terry. The man's family is suing Red Bull, seeking $85 million over wrongful death claims.
Terry, a construction worker from Bedford-Stuyvesant who left behind a 13-year-old son, was a healthy, active nonsmoker — and an avid Red Bull drinker, his grandmother Patricia Terry said.
"He drank that stuff all the time. He said it perked him up," she recalled.
On the evening of Nov. 8, 2011, Terry was playing hoops in a gym at Stephen Decatur Middle School. After about 45 minutes, he gulped a can of Red Bull, became lightheaded and collapsed, records show.
The cause of death was idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy, which means that Terry's heart stopped.
There are many causes of DCM, as it is known, such as illness, genetics or even alcoholism.
Terry played a game of basketball inside the gym at Stephen Decatur Middle Shool in Brooklyn before downing a Red Bull, becoming lightheaded and collapsing.
The medic's report referred to Terry's consumption of the energy drink before his heart attack.
"I know he was healthy and I couldn't find no other reason for why he died," his grandmother said.
She previously filed a lawsuit against the city, claiming there was no defibrillator or other life-saving equipment in the school's gym and that it took 40 minutes for an ambulance to arrive. That case is pending. City officials declined to comment.
The new complaint mentions nine fatalities worldwide that have been linked to Red Bull and cites scientific studies that the beverage carries potential health hazards, especially for adolescents and people who exercise.
Between 2004 and 2012, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration received 21 reports from doctors or hospitals connecting Red Bull with a long list of symptoms, including fatigue, dizziness, chest pain and more, records show.
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Between 2004 and 2012, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration received 21 reports from doctors or hospitals connecting Red Bull with a long list of symptoms, including fatigue, dizziness, chest pain and more, according to records.
But the numbers might be much higher than that. The FDA has previously confirmed 18 deaths that had a suspected link to energy drinks, and in a 2009 federal study, 13,000 emergency room visits were associated with the consumption of such beverages.
Novofastovsky said that in light of these findings, plus the death of Terry, it's surprising that the FDA did not order warning labels and urged the agency to take a closer look at energy drinks.
The suit even took exception to the drink's slogan — "Red Bull gives you wings" — because youngsters and athletes might be especially vulnerable to the caffeine and other ingredients such as taurine.
Dr. Daniel Fabricant, director of the Division of Dietary Supplement Programs at the FDA, said the agency was still researching the effects of caffeinated drinks.
"If we find that something is dangerous to consumers, we'll certainly take action," he said.
Novofastovsky said the lawsuit could also raise people's awareness to potential risks of the stimulating swig
"We're trying to make this death mean something," he said. "We're trying to make sure that we prevent more."