A family has filed a lawsuit against Panera Bread, accusing the company of causing the death of their daughter, a 21-year-old student at the University of Pennsylvania, who drank a beverage that contained more caffeine than three cans of Red Bull or Monster energy drinks.
Sarah Katz, who had a heart condition called long QT syndrome type 1, died in Sept. 2022 after drinking a “charged lemonade” from Panera, which was advertised as a “plant-based and clean” beverage. According to the lawsuit, the drink was actually a “dangerous energy drink” that contained more than 300 milligrams of caffeine, while the Food and Drug Administration recommends no more than 400 milligrams per day.
Katz had avoided energy drinks at the advice of her doctors, who warned her that excessive caffeine could trigger a cardiac arrest. She was unaware of the ingredients and caffeine content of the drink, which were not disclosed on the menu or the label, the lawsuit claims.
“Panera’s ‘charged lemonade’ is not lemonade at all. It is a dangerous energy drink that contains more caffeine than three cans of Red Bull or Monster energy drinks,” said Katz’s lawyer, Robert Mongeluzzi.
The lawsuit, filed in Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas on Friday, seeks unspecified damages for wrongful death, negligence, breach of warranty and consumer fraud. It also demands that Panera stop selling the drink and warn consumers about its potential risks.
Panera spokesperson Edward Ruddy said in a statement that the company was “deeply saddened by this tragic loss and our hearts go out to Sarah’s family and friends.” He added that Panera was “cooperating fully with the authorities” and could not comment further on the pending litigation.
Katz was an exceptional student who excelled in academics, athletics and music. She was a leader on campus and a beloved member of the Penn community.
“She was a beautiful, brilliant, kind, loving young woman who had her whole life ahead of her,” said Katz’s mother, Deborah Katz.
“Sarah was an exceptional student who excelled in academics, athletics and music. She was a leader on campus and a beloved member of our community,” said Penn President Amy Gutmann.
– Family files lawsuit against Panera Bread after college student who drank ‘charged lemonade’ dies, NBC News, Oct. 23, 2023
– ‘Charged Lemonade’ From Panera Led To Death Of UPenn Student From Jersey City: Lawsuit, The i on MSN.com, Oct. 23, 2023
– Ivy League student, 21, died after drinking Panera lemonade ‘with more caffeine than 3 Red Bulls’: lawsuit, New York Post, Oct. 23, 2023
– Ivy League student dies after consuming Panera’s ‘charged lemonade’, Times of India, Oct. 24, 2023