Court Rules Family Can Sue Four Loko Brewer

The brewer of Four Loko can be sued by the father of a college athlete whose alleged Four Loko-fueled rampage led to him being shot and killed by police, a state appeals court ruled.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported that the Fifth District Court of Appeal gave Brett Fiorini the green light to sue City Beverage Co., the beverage's brewer, for the death of his son, Ron Fiorini.

Ron, then 23, was a sophomore at Fresno Pacific University in 2010 when, after allegedly drinking two cans of Four Loko to celebrate making the track team, he began acting "agitated and disoriented."

He was shot and killed by police responding to his home after he greeted them at the door with "shotgun on his shoulder," according to the newspaper.

Fiorini is accusing City Beverage Co. of selling a "dangerous" drink whose strong, "harmful effects" were not disclosed.

A lower court judge previously dropped the suit. The beverage's brewer can now ask the Supreme Court to toss the suit, but it's unclear if they will do so.

Judges said that Four Loko is "not a common consumer product... they are highly modified and changed through additives."

The drink's brewer voluntarily removed caffeine, guarana and taurine in 2010, prior to California's ban on caffeine-infused beers in 2011.  

Lawyers for City Beverage declined to comment on the ruling, according to the Chronicle.

(Correction: An earlier version of this story referred to City Beverage as Four Loko's "maker." The company is the drink's brewer.)

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