(MENAFN) Panera Bread Company is facing a wrongful death and negligence lawsuit from the family of a 46-year-old Florida man, David Brown, who allegedly died after consuming Panera's caffeine-filled lemonade. The lawsuit, filed in Delaware's Superior Court on Monday, asserts that Brown, who had high blood pressure and did not consume energy drinks, believed Panera's Charged Lemonade was safe as it was not marketed as an energy drink. The beverage was positioned alongside the restaurant chain's non-caffeinated or less-caffeinated options.
According to the legal filing, Brown consumed the Panera Charged Lemonade three times during a visit to a Panera Bread location in Fleming Island, Florida, on October 9. Subsequently, on his walk home, he experienced cardiac arrest and passed away shortly after. The lawsuit highlights that Brown had ordered the charged lemonade at least seven times in the two weeks leading up to his death.
The legal action claims that Panera should have been aware that the Panera Charged Lemonade, in its designed and formulated state, had the potential to cause harm, especially to individuals such as children, pregnant or breastfeeding women, and those sensitive to caffeine, leading to catastrophic injuries or death.
Panera Bread Company has not yet responded to inquiries seeking comment on the lawsuit. The legal complaint emphasizes that David Brown had a chromosomal deficiency disorder, developmental delays, blurred vision, and mild intellectual disability. He had been a regular customer at Panera for 17 years, often choosing the restaurant for its perceived emphasis on offering a healthy alternative to other dining establishments.
This lawsuit follows another wrongful death lawsuit filed in October by the family of Sarah Katz, a 21-year-old University of Pennsylvania student with a heart condition. Katz allegedly died in September 2022 after consuming Panera's Charged Lemonade. These legal actions raise questions about the marketing, formulation, and safety considerations surrounding the caffeinated beverage offered by Panera Bread Company.
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