Fourth Lawsuit Filed Against Panera Over Highly Caffeinated Drink

In a recent lawsuit, Luke Adams, an 18-year-old from Monroeville, Pennsylvania, claims to have suffered a near-fatal cardiac arrest after consuming Panera Bread’s “Charged Lemonade.” This marks the fourth case alleging severe heart issues linked to the highly caffeinated beverage before the company pulled it from stores this month.

5 Key Points

  • Luke Adams went into cardiac arrest after drinking a Mango Yuzu Citrus “Charged Lemonade” from Panera Bread on March 9, 2024.
  • Adams’ case is the fourth lawsuit against Panera Bread over alleged heart scares linked to “Charged Lemonade.”
  • Panera Bread discontinued the “Charged Lemonade” sale in May 2024. This drink contains more caffeine than a 12-ounce Red Bull and a 16-ounce Monster Energy Drink combined.
  • Adams, a healthy teen with no underlying medical conditions, required defibrillators and was placed on a ventilator in the ICU after consuming the drink.
  • Three other plaintiffs, represented by the same attorney, have filed cases against Panera Bread, including two fatal incidents allegedly caused by the “Charged Lemonade.”

According to the lawsuit, Adams ordered a Mango Yuzu Citrus “Charged Lemonade” and a chicken sandwich before watching a movie with friends at the Cinemark Monroeville Mall theater. About two-and-a-half hours into the film, Adams was found unresponsive and in sudden cardiac arrest.

Medical Professionals Save Teen’s Life

Fortunately, medical professionals in the theater began administering CPR and used a defibrillator to shock Adams’ heart back into a normal rhythm. He was then rushed to a local hospital, where he suffered from seizures and acute respiratory failure, requiring intubation and a ventilator in the intensive care unit.

Medical reports included in the lawsuit suggest that Adams’ cardiac arrest and subsequent seizures were likely related to the heavy caffeine intake from the Panera Charged Lemonade. As a result, Adams now has a subcutaneous implantable cardioverter defibrillator indefinitely connected to his heart for preemptive secondary prevention.

Panera Faces Multiple Lawsuits

Adams’ case is not an isolated incident. The exact attorney, Elizabeth Crawford, represents three other plaintiffs in cases against Panera Bread over alleged heart scares linked to “Charged Lemonade”:

  1. Dennis Brown, 46, suffered a fatal “cardiac event” after consuming a “Charged Lemonade” and two additional refills in Fleming Island, Florida.
  2. Sarah Katz, a 21-year-old University of Pennsylvania student, allegedly suffered a fatal cardiac arrest after consuming a Charged Lemonade in 2022.
  3. Lauren Skerritt, a 28-year-old Rhode Island woman, was rushed to the emergency room and suffered debilitating injuries, including irregular heartbeat, after consuming more than two servings of the “Charged Lemonade.”

Panera Discontinues Controversial Beverage

In response to the previous lawsuits, Panera Bread expressed sympathy for the families but maintained that their products were safe and the lawsuits were without merit. However, in May 2024, the company announced that it would discontinue the sale of “Charged Lemonade,” which contains 260 milligrams of caffeine in a regular size and 390 milligrams in a large.

Attorney Elizabeth Crawford, representing all four plaintiffs, stated, “Luke Adams’ case is a tragic example of why the Panera Charged Lemonade is an inherently dangerous product and needs to be removed from the market.”

As the lawsuits progress, Panera Bread faces scrutiny over the safety of its highly caffeinated beverages and the potential risks they pose to consumers, particularly young adults and those with underlying health conditions.