Wrongful Death Lawsuits Allege Panera’s Charged Lemonade Caused Two Fatalities

Panera Bread is facing two wrongful death lawsuits alleging that its Charged Lemonade drinks caused the deaths of a 21-year-old college student and a 46-year-old man. The company announced on Tuesday that it will phase out the caffeinated beverages nationwide amid these legal challenges.

The high levels of caffeine in the drink have created enough concern to prompt the company to phase the drink out.

In October 2022, the family of Sarah Katz, a University of Pennsylvania student with a heart condition, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Panera. Katz died in September 2022 after drinking a Charged Lemonade, which allegedly contained higher caffeine levels than Red Bull and Monster Energy Drink combined and came with no warning.

In December 2022, the family of David Brown, a 46-year-old man from Fleming Island, Florida, filed a wrongful death and negligence lawsuit against Panera. Brown’s family said he suffered cardiac arrest and died on Oct. 9 after drinking three Charged Lemonades at his local Panera.

“Brown’s family said Brown had high blood pressure and didn’t drink energy drinks but believed Charged Sips were safe because they weren’t advertised as energy drinks,” according to a report by the Associated Press. The lawsuit said Brown had ordered at least seven Charged Lemonades over a two-week period before he died.

Panera’s decision to discontinue its highly-caffeinated drink following the tragic deaths of two customers is a step in the right direction. This move shows that the company is willing to take responsibility for its actions and prioritize the safety of its customers over profits. While it cannot undo the loss of life, this action helps prevent future tragedies. Panera’s response sets an example for other companies to follow in being transparent about potential risks and acting swiftly to protect public health.