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This is the second similar lawsuit filed against Panera in the past couple of months.

Panera’s caffeinated lemonade blamed for another death, second lawsuit alleges

The family of Florida man Dennis Brown filed a lawsuit when he suffered from a fatal cardiac arrest incident after drinking three Charged Lemonade drinks

Panera Bread faces a second lawsuit following the death of Dennis Brown of Fleming Island, Fla. who suffered from a fatal cardiac arrest after he drank three caffeinated Charged Lemonade drinks from Panera.

The lawsuit, filed on Monday in the Superior Court in the State of Delaware by the deceased man’s family, claims that Brown, 46, was a member of Panera’s Unlimited Sips Club and would often pick up orders of Panera on his way home from work. According to his parents, Brown was an advocate for people with disabilities and himself lived with ADHD, a developmental delay, and a chromosomal disorder. As a result of his high blood pressure, he did not drink energy drinks.

The lawsuit claims that Brown had been drinking the Charged Lemonade drinks over a six-day period and had consumed three of the beverages on Oct. 9, the day he died from cardiac arrest on his way home. The lawsuit claims that there was no warning signage about the caffeine content in the beverages; a regular Charged Lemonade contains 158 mg of caffeine, so three regular sized Charged Lemonades would contain 474 mg of caffeine: more than four 12.5-ounce Red Bull energy drinks, and more than the FDA-allotted 400 mg of caffeine that adults can drink safely daily.

The incident took place several weeks before the first lawsuit was filed against Panera. On Oct. 30, the family of college student, Sarah Katz, filed a lawsuit against the bakery-café chain after the young woman — who suffered from a heart arrhythmia and typically avoided heavily caffeinated beverages — consumed the beverage without knowing that it contained such high amounts of caffeine and went into cardiac arrest twice before dying. Although Panera defended that its beverages were safe, in the aftermath of the first lawsuit and subsequent investigation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Panera updated its signage, both in stores and on its app and website, to warn of the high caffeine content –approximately three weeks after the most recent death happened.  

“Based on our investigation we believe his unfortunate passing was not caused by one of the company’s products,” Panera said in a media statement released in the aftermath of the second lawsuit. “We view this lawsuit, which was filed by the same law firm as a previous claim, to be equally without merit. Panera stands firmly by the safety of our products.”

Nation’s Restaurant News reached out to Panera for comment and to the FDA for information of the ongoing investigation of the beverage but did not receive a response in time for publication.

“This is a vulnerable population that I think the community at large should help protect. And I feel like Panera failed to do that for Dennis,” Elizabeth Crawford, an attorney at  the Philadelphia-based law firm Kline & Specter, which represented both the plaintiffs in the two lawsuits against Panera, told NBC News. “Dennis’ family, just like the Katz family, hopes that this message gets out to prevent this from happening to another Dennis.”

Contact Joanna Fantozzi at [email protected]

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