Panera’s Second Caffeinated Lemonade Lawsuit

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Panera’s Second Caffeinated Lemonade Lawsuit

Panera Bread is in hot water again as a second lawsuit has been filed against them due to a recent death that has been linked to their Charged Lemonade drinks. The family of Dennis Brown, a Florida man, filed a lawsuit against the company after he suffered a fatal cardiac arrest incident shortly after consuming three caffeinated Charged Lemonades. This incident follows closely on the heels of the first lawsuit involving the death of Sarah Katz, a college student who also went into cardiac arrest after drinking the same beverage. With these lawsuits, questions arise about the safety of Panera’s products, the adequacy of warning signage, and the need for increased awareness regarding the caffeine content in their drinks.


Dennis Brown’s Tragic Case

Dennis Brown, a 46-year-old Fleming Island, Florida resident, had been a loyal member of Panera’s Unlimited Sips Club, frequently stopping by the café on his way home from work. He was known for his advocacy for people with disabilities and lived with ADHD, a developmental delay, and a chromosomal disorder. Due to his preexisting high blood pressure, Brown had consciously avoided energy drinks.

The lawsuit filed by Brown’s family alleges that he had been consuming Panera’s Charged Lemonade drinks over six days, with the fatal incident occurring on October 9. Shockingly, the lawsuit claims there were no clear warnings about the high caffeine content in these beverages. A regular Charged Lemonade reportedly contains 158 mg of caffeine. Thus, the three Charged Lemonades Brown consumed that day would have held a staggering 474 mg of caffeine – more than four 12.5-ounce Red Bull energy drinks- surpassing the FDA’s recommended daily limit of 400 mg for adults.


A Pattern of Concern

The death of Dennis Brown isn’t an isolated incident. Just a few weeks before this tragic event, there was another lawsuit against Panera following the death of Sarah Katz. Sarah, a college student, suffered from a heart arrhythmia and typically avoided heavily caffeinated drinks. She consumed Panera’s Charged Lemonade without being aware of its caffeine content and subsequently went into cardiac arrest twice before passing away.

Panera updated its signage in stores and on its app and website in response to the initial lawsuit and a subsequent U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) investigation. Those warnings were put in place approximately three weeks after Sarah Katz’s death. However, some argue that this response may have come too late for Dennis Brown and raises concerns about the company’s commitment to consumer safety.


Panera’s Defense

Panera Bread has vigorously defended its products in the face of these lawsuits. In a media statement released after the second lawsuit, the company stated, “Based on our investigation, we believe his unfortunate passing was not caused by one of the company’s products. We view this lawsuit filed by the same law firm as a previous claim to be equally without merit. Panera stands firmly by the safety of our products.”

The company’s position seems unwavering, and it maintains that the recent lawsuit lacks merit. However, these tragic incidents and the mounting legal challenges should serve as a wake-up call for Panera and the food and beverage industry.


Seeking Accountability and Awareness

The lawsuits against Panera raise essential questions about corporate accountability, consumer safety, and the responsibility of food establishments to provide clear and accurate information about their products. Should it be proven that Panera’s Charged Lemonade drinks played a role in these tragic deaths, it would highlight a need for greater transparency and diligence in product labeling.

Furthermore, there is a growing need for awareness regarding the caffeine content in various beverages, especially among vulnerable populations. People with underlying health conditions, like Sarah Katz and Dennis Brown, may be more susceptible to the adverse effects of caffeine. Companies must provide transparent information about their products’ ingredients and potential health risks.



The tragic deaths of Sarah Katz and Dennis Brown, linked to Panera’s caffeinated Charged Lemonade drinks, have ignited a legal and ethical debate about corporate responsibility and consumer safety. While Panera Bread maintains the protection of its products, the lawsuits serve as a reminder of the importance of transparency in food labeling and the need for heightened awareness regarding caffeine content. As these legal battles unfold, companies must prioritize consumer well-being and take proactive measures to prevent heartbreaking incidents. Ultimately, the hope is that these cases catalyze positive change in the food and beverage industry, ensuring that consumers are better informed and protected.


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***Please note that the insightful and engaging content provided on our platform is crafted by our dedicated Marketing Department’s content writing team. While Ken Kuscher is the esteemed figure and expert within our industry, the articles and blog posts available are not personally authored by Ken.

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