Federal Way man sues Monster Energy Drink maker over mouse in can

A Federal Way man is suing the makers of Monster Energy Drink after reportedly finding a mouse inside a can.

Vitaliy Sulzhik, 19, bought the energy drink in March 2010 at Fred Meyer in Des Moines. About an hour later, he tried to gulp the rest down.

"I backwashed it, and debris and gunk went in my mouth," he said. "I looked in the can and saw the tip of the tail and couldn't handle it. I started vomiting and throwing up all over the parking lot."

A friend insisted Sulzhik go to the emergency room. "I started freaking out," he said. At St. Francis Hospital, "they said I should be fine."

The lawsuit was filed Monday against Hansen Beverage Company, said Reed Yurchak, a Bellevue attorney representing Sulzhik. They are suing for negligence and product liability, but have not put a specific dollar amount in the lawsuit, Yurchak said.

"We want them to be accountable, not just sweep it under the rug," he told The Mirror, referring to Hansen. He said the lawsuit finally came to fruition following a communication issue with Hansen. "It's frustrating for me to force a corporation to be accountable. They should have stepped up already."

Yurchak said that at Hansen's insistence, the mouse and can have been tested by forensic company MDE in Seattle. Yurchak said a range of tests determine the mouse's cause of death, and another test could determine whether the mouse came from the same location as the beverage's manufacturing plant.

"All of our products are produced and packaged under the highest and strictest hygienic and safety standards in the industry," said Lori Esler-Jung, consumer relations representative for Hansen. "We dispute that there is any factual basis for this claim and we intend to vigorously oppose the claim. Other than that I have no comment."

Sulzhik wants compensation for what he called "the worst experience of my life."

"I mainly want them to take responsibility for this," said Sulzhik, who hasn't had an energy drink since the incident. "I can't stand energy drinks anymore. I just get a sick feeling when I hear about Monster. It was horrible."

"I was sick the whole week after that," he said. "I couldn't eat. I kept playing it over in my mind. All I could do is drink regular water."


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