College student died from cardiac arrest after drinking ‘charged lemonade’ from Panera Bread, according to lawsuit

News & Politics

The family of an Ivy League college student who died from cardiac arrest filed a lawsuit against Panera Bread claiming the high caffeine content of a drink led directly to her death.

21-year-old Sarah Katz consumed a “charged lemonade” drink at a Panera Bread located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in September 2022 according to the lawsuit.

Hours later, she suffered a cardiac arrest at a friend’s birthday gathering. She was transported to a hospital, where she suffered a second cardiac arrest and died.

Her family claims that Katz didn’t know there was caffeine in the drink she purchased. Katz suffered from a pre-existing heart condition and avoided drinking energy drinks based on the recommendation of doctors.

“She was very, very vigilant about what she needed to do to keep herself safe,” said her roommate and close friend, Victoria Rose Conroy. “I guarantee if Sarah had known how much caffeine this was, she never would have touched it with a 10-foot pole.”

The family filed the lawsuit Monday at state court. It alleges that the drink contained more caffeine than the company’s dark roast coffee and has other stimulants as well.

“These unregulated beverages include no warning of any potentially dangerous effects, even the life-threatening effects on blood pressure, heart rate, and/or brain function,” read the lawsuit.

Although the charged lemonade drinks are advertised at the Panera website as “the ultimate energy drink,” they are not labeled as such in stores, according to the lawsuit.

Katz attended the University of Pennsylvania and taught CPR in underserved communities, according to her family.

Panera released a statement about the lawsuit.

“We were saddened to learn this morning about the tragic passing of Sarah Katz, and our hearts go out to her family,” read the statement.

“At Panera we strongly believe in transparency around our ingredients,” the company added. “We will work quickly to thoroughly investigate this matter.”

Here’s a news report about the lemonade lawsuit:

Family claims 21-year-old died after drinking caffeinated lemonade at Panera, files

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