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Family sues Panera, saying its caffeinated lemonade led to Florida man’s cardiac arrest

by Ryan Lee
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Wrongful Death Lawsuit

The family of a 46-year-old resident of Florida has initiated legal action against Panera Bread Company, one of the prominent fast-casual restaurant chains in the United States. Their lawsuit alleges wrongful death and negligence, contending that Panera’s caffeinated lemonade was a contributing factor in the man’s fatal cardiac arrest.

David Brown, who had preexisting high blood pressure and abstained from energy drinks, assumed that Panera’s Charged Lemonade was a safe beverage, given that it was not marketed as an energy drink. This lemonade was available alongside the restaurant’s non-caffeinated and lightly caffeinated options. The lawsuit, which was filed in Delaware’s Superior Court where Panera Bread Company is registered, asserts that on October 9, Brown consumed the lemonade three times during a visit to the Panera Bread Company branch in Fleming Island, Florida. Tragically, he experienced cardiac arrest during his walk home and succumbed shortly thereafter. The lawsuit further reveals that he had ordered the Panera Charged Lemonade on at least seven occasions within a two-week span in September and October.

The legal complaint asserts that the defendants either had knowledge or should have been aware that the Panera Charged Lemonade, in its composition and formulation, posed potential harm to individuals, including children, expectant and nursing mothers, and those sensitive to caffeine, potentially resulting in severe injuries or fatality.

As of Tuesday afternoon, there has been no response from Panera’s corporate offices to inquiries seeking their comments on this matter.

David Brown, the deceased, had a chromosomal deficiency disorder, developmental delays, slight blurred vision, and mild intellectual disability, as outlined in the lawsuit. He had been employed at Publix Super Markets for 17 years and frequented the Panera restaurant after work for meals, visiting as many as three times per week. According to the lawsuit, he perceived the chain as a healthier dining option compared to other restaurants.

This lawsuit follows another wrongful death case filed in October by the family of 21-year-old Sarah Katz, a University of Pennsylvania student with a preexisting heart condition who passed away in September 2022 after consuming the same lemonade, as reported by various media outlets.

Panera Bread Company, a privately-held corporation headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri, operates across 48 U.S. states and in Canada.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Wrongful Death Lawsuit

What is the lawsuit against Panera about?

The lawsuit against Panera involves allegations of wrongful death and negligence. The family of a 46-year-old man claims that Panera’s caffeinated lemonade contributed to his fatal cardiac arrest.

Who was the individual at the center of this lawsuit?

The individual at the heart of this lawsuit is David Brown, a 46-year-old resident of Florida who had high blood pressure and did not consume energy drinks.

Why did David Brown believe the Panera Charged Lemonade was safe?

David Brown believed the Panera Charged Lemonade was safe because it was not advertised as an energy drink and was offered alongside other non-caffeinated or lightly caffeinated beverages.

What were the circumstances surrounding David Brown’s cardiac arrest?

On October 9, David Brown consumed the Panera Charged Lemonade three times during a visit to a Panera Bread Company location in Fleming Island, Florida. While walking home, he suffered a cardiac arrest and passed away shortly thereafter.

How often had David Brown consumed the Panera Charged Lemonade before his tragic incident?

According to the lawsuit, David Brown had ordered the Panera Charged Lemonade at least seven times over a two-week period in September and October.

What does the lawsuit claim about Panera’s knowledge?

The lawsuit claims that the defendants should have known that the Panera Charged Lemonade, as formulated, could potentially cause severe harm or death to individuals, including children, pregnant and breastfeeding women, and those sensitive to caffeine.

Has Panera Bread Company responded to the lawsuit?

As of Tuesday afternoon, there has been no response from Panera’s corporate offices to inquiries seeking their comments on this matter.

Who was Sarah Katz, and how is she related to this case?

Sarah Katz was a 21-year-old University of Pennsylvania student who passed away in September 2022 after consuming the same lemonade. Her family also filed a wrongful death lawsuit related to this incident.

Where is Panera Bread Company headquartered, and where does it operate?

Panera Bread Company is a privately-held corporation headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri, and it operates in 48 U.S. states and Canada.

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