The family of an Ohio high school student who died after consuming a lethal dose of powdered caffeine last spring has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Amazon.com and several other companies who had a hand in making, marketing or shipping the pure caffeine powder.
The family of Logan Stiner claim Amazon and six other companies violated Ohio food and drug safety laws by making, marketing or distributing the pure powdered caffeine that caused their son’s death by overdose. The lawsuit claims the companies should have known that Hard Rhino pure caffeine could be dangerous if misused and that ordinary consumers would not automatically know. Because of this, the Stiner family lawsuit claims the companies directly and proximately caused their son’s death.
Stiner was just days away from high school graduation when he consumed the toxic dose of powdered caffeine. An autopsy revealed that he had more than 70 micrograms of caffeine per milliliter of blood in his system – which translates to about 23 times the amount found in someone who typically drinks coffee or sodas. Symptoms of caffeine overdose can present in minutes and include vomiting, diarrhea, stupor, disorientation, rapid or dangerously erratic heartbeat, seizure and death.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates all forms of caffeine except the pure caffeine powder because it is listed as a dietary supplement. Thus, the Stiner’s lawsuit claims, the companies named in the lawsuit were responsible for determining the product was safe. However, the companies failed to warn users of the risks, nor do they inform consumers what dosage is safe. The FDA says that there is a very small difference between a safe dose of pure caffeine powder and a lethal dose.
Following Stiner’s death, the FDA issued a warning to consumers to avoid pure caffeine products, especially those sold in bulk bags over the internet. “It is nearly impossible to accurately measure powdered pure caffeine with common kitchen measuring tools and you can easily consume a lethal amount,” the agency warned.