Panera Bread’s Charged Lemonade sued for a second death

Panera Bread’s highly caffeinated “Charged Lemonade” is now blamed for a second death, according to a lawsuit filed Monday.

Dennis Brown, of Fleming Island, Florida, drank three Charged Lemonades from a local Panera on Oct. 9 and then suffered a fatal cardiac arrest on his way home, the suit said.

Brown, 46, had an unspecified chromosomal deficiency disorder, a developmental delay and a mild intellectual disability. He lived independently, frequently stopping at Panera after his shifts at a supermarket, the legal complaint said. Because he had high blood pressure, he did not consume energy drinks, it added.

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

Panera said it expressed “our deep sympathy for Mr. Brown’s family” and that it stood by the safety of its products. “Based on our investigation we believe his unfortunate passing was not caused by one of the company’s products,” it said in a statement. “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.”

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