By Gregory B. Hladky
5:01 PM EDT, May 6, 2013
A couple of months ago, Monster Beverage threatened to sue a Connecticut nutritionist named Dr. Deborah Kennedy unless she stopped saying high-caffeine energy drinks were dangerous for kids.
Then the multi-billion-dollar company, the biggest energy-drink manufacturer in the world, last week filed a lawsuit against the San Francisco city attorney because he demanded they stop marketing to children and cut their caffeine levels. And now, San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera is suing Monster.
Kennedy, meanwhile, hasn't backed off of her anti-energy drink comments one bit, and has been conducting teaching sessions for teens warning of the dangers. She is also amazed at Monster's tactics.
"I can't believe they're actually going to sue San Francisco," Kennedy said Monday. "I can't figure out what their game plan is, unless it's to try and intimidate local officials."
Kennedy said Monster, which claims she damaged their product's reputation with false and misleading statements, hasn't taken any legal action against her.
In their original letter to Kennedy, Monster officials demanded she retract the comments she made in a nutrition newsletter she writes for schools around the nation or face a court suit within five days.
Kennedy says all the publicity surrounding that threat (Monster officials denied it was a threat) may have actually helped spread information about potential dangers of energy drinks for young people.
"It did get the word out for sure," she says.
Lately, Kennedy says she has "taken my show on the road" to try and convince teenagers that consuming high-caffeine drinks can be dangerous.
She is also working with other nutritionists and medical professionals to convince governors around the U.S. to pass legislation banning sales to minors of such drinks as Monster Energy, Red Bull, 5-Hour Energy shots and PepsiCo's Amp.
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