Panera hit with another wrongful death suit over caffeinated lemonade

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New York

Panera is being sued once more after another customer is said to have died after consuming the chain’s caffeinated lemonade.

Dennis Brown was a 46-year-old man with a chromosomal deficiency dysfunction, ADHD and hypertension who averted power drinks, in accordance with a wrongful loss of life criticism filed this week by his mom, brother and sister. A loyal Panera buyer, he began frequently ordering “charged lemonade” in late September, in accordance with the go well with.

On October 9, Brown, who had a light mental incapacity and blurry imaginative and prescient together with developmental delay however lived independently, ordered a charged lemonade and is believed to have refilled his cup twice over the course of about an hour and a half, the go well with stated. He suffered a cardiac occasion on his stroll dwelling and was pronounced lifeless on the scene when discovered unresponsive.

The criticism resembles one other wrongful loss of life go well with filed earlier this 12 months by the mother and father of Sarah Katz, a 21-year-old girl who died in September 2022 after consuming Panera’s charged lemonade. Katz was recognized with a coronary heart situation known as lengthy QT syndrome when she was 5 years outdated, and managed signs by taking medicine and limiting caffeine, in accordance with that lawsuit.

In an announcement on the most recent lawsuit, Panera stated it “expresses our deep sympathy for Mr. Brown’s household,” including that “based mostly on our investigation, we imagine his unlucky passing was not brought on by one of many firm’s merchandise.”

Panera added that “we view this lawsuit, which was filed by the identical legislation agency as a earlier declare, to be equally with out advantage. Panera stands firmly by the protection of our merchandise.” Attorneys from the agency Kline & Specter signify each households.

Brown’s attorneys argue that the beverage ought to have been marketed as an power drink in shops, based mostly on the quantity of caffeine and sugar per serving. However the self-serve beverage was not labeled as such and was offered alongside non- or less-caffeinated drinks, in accordance with the go well with.

“Panera Charged Lemonade is a juice beverage marketed to kids and adults alike,” the go well with claims.

“This advertising is particularly harmful to a susceptible inhabitants, kids and adults who would moderately imagine this product was lemonade and protected for consumption,” in accordance with the criticism, which added that the beverage can be harmful as a result of it’s blended on the premises by staff, so its caffeine content material is just not strictly managed.

Katz, who died final 12 months, could have believed the caffeinated drink was common lemonade, her mother and father alleged within the go well with they filed in opposition to Panera.

Katz skilled cardiac arrest and died after being transported to a hospital and struggling a second arrest, according to the earlier lawsuit. “We’ll work rapidly to totally examine this matter,” Panera stated in an announcement on the time. The case stays open.

Panera declined on Tuesday to touch upon whether or not it has modified the make-up of its drink, but it surely does seem to have decreased the quantity of caffeine per serving.

In line with Panera’s web site, charged drinks have between 150 and 158 milligrams of caffeine per 20-ounce serving, lower than a 20-ounce cup of Panera’s darkish roast espresso, which has about 268 milligrams of caffeine. An internet description of the caffeinated lemonade advises prospects to “use carefully” and notes that it’s “NOT RECOMMENDED FOR kids, individuals delicate to caffeine, pregnant or nursing girls.”

The newest lawsuit, nonetheless, stated that there have been about 260 milligrams of caffeine in a 20-ounce serving of charged lemonade. CNN reported in October that a big measurement, which is available in a 30-oz cup, contained about 390 mg of caffeine, the identical caffeine-per-ounce ratio. On the time, Panera’s web site in contrast the charged lemonade to its darkish roast espresso by way of caffeine content material. Now, a 30-ounce charged Panera drink has not more than 237 milligrams of caffeine, in accordance with Panera’s web site.

In line with the US Meals and Drug Administration, “wholesome adults” should be able to safely consume about 400 milligrams of caffeine every day.

— CNN’s Eva Rothenberg contributed to this report.

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