Panera Bread’s caffeine-fueled lemonade cited in another wrongful-death lawsuit

Panera faces lawsuit over alleged lemonade deaths

Panera faces lawsuit over alleged lemonade deaths


Panera Bread’s Charged Lemonade is blamed for the death of another person, according to a lawsuit filed Monday.

Dennis Brown of Fleming Island, Fla., drank three of the drinks — unknowingly consuming high levels of caffeine — at a local Panera on Oct. 9 before suffering a fatal cardiac arrest while walking home, according to the suit filed in Delaware Superior Court.

Brown, 46, suffered from a chromosomal deficiency, developmental delay and ADHD, yet lived alone and worked as a grocery store clerk for nearly 17 years, according to the suit. He also had high blood pressure and did not consume energy drinks, it said.

The Charged Lemonade was not advertised as an energy drink and was offered alongside Panera’s non-caffeinated or less caffeinated beverages, without warnings about the potentially dangerous effects of drinking concentrated amounts of caffeine and sugar, according to the suit filed on behalf of Brown’s family.

The wrongful death suit follows another filed in October by the family of 21-year-old Sarah Katz, a college student with a heart condition who died in September 2022 after drinking the product allegedly containing more caffeine than Red Bull and Monster Energy Drink combined without warning.

High levels of caffeine and sugar

A large 30-ounce Mango Yuzu Citrus Charged Lemonade contains 390 milligrams of caffeine and 124 grams of sugar, according to the lawsuits filed against the company, as well as on the company’s website. Another Panera page listed the same product and size as containing 235 milligrams of caffeine and 74 grams of sugar. The higher caffeine and sugar numbers involve the same product without ice cream, according to Panera.

The beverages labeled by Panera as Charged Sips should be consumed in moderation, the company’s website now states. “Not recommended for children, people sensitive to caffeine, pregnant or lactating women,” a banner on the page pt. reader.

It’s safe for a healthy adult to drink 400 milligrams of caffeine a day, which is equivalent to about four cups of coffee, according to to the Danish Food and Drug Administration. Sugar should make up less than 10% of total calories, means 50 grams for a 2,000 calorie diet.

The FDA said in October that it was gather information about Katz’s death.

An attorney involved in both cases told CBS in an emailed statement that Brown, like Katz, was “killed by Panera’s toxic super energy drink, ‘charged lemonade.'”

“Dennis is part of a vulnerable population that should be protected. And Panera failed to protect Dennis. Dennis’ family, like the Katz family, hopes this message gets out to prevent this tragedy from happening again to anyone else ,” Elizabeth Crawford, a partner at Kline & Spector, said in an email.

Panera rejects connection

Panera expressed sympathy for Brown’s family, but disputed a link between Brown’s death and its caffeinated beverage.

“Based on our investigation, we believe his unfortunate passing was not caused by one of the company’s products. We believe this lawsuit, which was filed by the same law firm as the previous claim, to be equally without merit. Panera stands by our products’ security,” a company spokesman said.

Privately owned by German investment firm JAB Holding Co., Panera operates more than 2,000 restaurants in the United States and Canada.

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