Lawsuit: Panera 'Charged Lemonade' led to Fleming Island man's death
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FLEMING ISLAND, Fla. — Panera Bread’s highly caffeinated Charged Lemonade is now blamed for a second death, according to a lawsuit filed Monday.

Fleming Island resident Dennis Brown, 46, drank three Charged Lemonades from a local Panera on Oct. 9 and later suffered a fatal cardiac arrest on his way home, the lawsuit said. 

The lawsuit said Brown had an unspecified chromosomal deficiency disorder, a developmental delay and a mild intellectual disability. Brown was a high school graduate and worked for nearly seventeen years at Publix. He lived independently, frequently stopping at Panera after his shifts. 

Because Brown had high blood pressure, he did not consume energy drinks, the lawsuit continued. 

Panera advertised its Charged Lemonade as “Plant-based and Clean with as much caffeine as our Dark Roast coffee” at 390 milligrams of caffeine. But the lawsuit said a large, 30-fluid-ounce Charged Lemonade has more caffeine in total than any size of Panera’s dark roast coffee, and the large cup contains more than the caffeine content of standard cans of Red Bull and Monster energy drinks combined, or the equivalent of nearly 30 teaspoons of sugar.

However, the lawsuit alleges the drink was offered side-by-side with all of the store’s non-caffeinated and/or less caffeinated drinks, was not advertised as an “energy drink” and there were no warnings to consumers.

The lawsuit said it was implied ” … that by having Panera Charged Lemonade as part of their Sip Club membership, it was safe to members of the consuming public to drink refills of their product, including Dennis.”

The Food and Drug Administration says healthy adults can safely consume 400 milligrams of caffeine a day.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Brown’s mother, sister and brother less than two months after Panera was hit with a another lawsuit regarding Sarah Katz, an Ivy League student with a heart condition who died last after she drank a Charged Lemonade.

 That lawsuit, first reported by NBC News, called the beverage a “dangerous energy drink” and argued that Panera failed to appropriately warn consumers about its ingredients, which include the stimulant guarana extract.

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