A new lawsuit against Panera alleges that a teenager from Pennsylvania went into cardiac arrest and had to be resuscitated in March after consuming one of the company’s caffeinated Charged Lemonade drinks that have since been discontinued.

The suit, which was first reported by NBC News, alleges that Luke Adams, 18, ordered a large Mango Yuzu Citrus Charged Lemonade and a chicken sandwich from Panera on March 9. Adams claimed he was unaware that the beverage, which has 390mg of caffeine when served without ice – just below the 400mg limit recommended by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) – and 237mg of caffeine with ice, was a “super energy drink with high amounts of caffeine, sugar and guarana.”

Adams hadn’t experienced health issues and consumed limited amounts of caffeine previously, but went into sudden cardiac arrest while at a movie with friends. 

He was resuscitated using an AED and taken to the hospital, where neurology and cardiology noted that “heavy caffeine intake identified is only potential trigger,” according to documents included in the suit. Adams has since had a defibrillator permanently implanted to prevent subsequent heart problems.


The lawsuit alleges that Panera’s Charged Lemonade beverage had a defective design due to the amount of caffeine and other stimulants that posed a risk to consumers, as well as its ingredients being mixed by employees at restaurants, which increased the risk.

Adams’ lawsuit is the latest of several that have alleged Panera’s Charged Lemonade caused heart issues and in some cases resulted in the wrongful death of a consumer.


Panera Bread

In early May, Panera announced that it would discontinue Charged Lemonade – though it didn’t specify a timeline for its removal from stores’ menus.

“We are excited to continue the success of our recent menu transformation, which began with our core options of sandwiches and salads,” a Panera spokesperson told FOX Business in a statement at the time. “We listened to more than 30,000 guests about what they wanted from Panera, and are focusing next on the broad array of beverages we know our guests desire – ranging from exciting, on-trend flavors, to low sugar and low caffeine options.”

Panera Charged Lemonade

“Our enhanced beverage portfolio, including new Blueberry Lavender Lemonade, Pomegranate Hibiscus Tea, Citrus Punch and a Tropical Green Smoothie will reinforce our mission of delivering what our guests most want – amazing taste, quality ingredients and value,” Panera’s statement continued.

Panera did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the latest lawsuit.


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