After a lawsuit was filed in October alleging that Panera Bread’s Charged Lemonade beverages led to the death of a 21-year-old woman in 2022, NBC News reports that Panera has just been hit with a second lawsuit related to the energy drink.
A lawsuit filed Monday in Delaware alleges Panera Bread’s highly caffeinated Charged Lemonade led to the death of a 46-year-old Florida resident. Per the filing, the man drank three servings of Charged Lemonade on October 9 purchased at a local Panera. The man then suffered fatal cardiac arrest on his way home. The death certificate provided to NBC lists the official cause of death as “cardiac arrest due to hypertensive disease.”
The lawsuit, filed on behalf of the victim’s family members, explains that the victim would often visit the local Panera restaurant on his way home from working at the local supermarket. Due to high blood pressure, he did not consume energy drinks; it’s unclear whether he was aware of the amount of caffeine in the Charged Lemonades. At the time of his death, these beverages were available in self-serve dispensers at the local Panera Bread, “offered side-by-side with all of the store’s non-caffeinated and/or less caffeinated drinks,” the lawsuit notes.
Another lawsuit was filed in Philadelphia in October, similarly alleging that Panera Bread’s Charged Lemonade was to blame for the death of a 21-year-old woman. The suit alleged Panera did not properly notify customers about the caffeine content of the drinks, which come in Blood Orange, Strawberry Lemon Mint, and Mango Yuzu Citrus flavors and contain between 245 and 260 mg of caffeine per 20-oz. cup (and between 368 and 390 mg in the 30-oz. cup). This is just below the Federal Drug Administration’s recommended daily limit of 400 mg of caffeine.
Following the first (and still ongoing) lawsuit, Panera Bread updated its in-store disclosures by adding a bold label indicating that the Charged Lemonade “Contains Caffeine.” The chain also added language stating the drinks should be “used in moderation” and are not recommended for “children, people sensitive to caffeine, pregnant or nursing women.”
The Philadelphia-based law firm Kline & Specter, PC is representing the families in both of these two lawsuits against Panera Bread.
While Panera expressed its sympathy to the Florida victim’s family in a statement to USA Today, the company also noted that “Based on our investigation we believe his unfortunate passing was not caused by one of the company’s products.”
The company’s statement went on to say that it views the lawsuit to be “without merit” and that “Panera stands firmly by the safety of our products.”