Panera’s super-caffeinated ‘Charged Lemonade’ caused perfectly healthy teen to suffer near-fatal heart attack: suit

A suburban Pittsburgh teen went into cardiac arrest after drinking the highly caffeinated “Charged Lemonade” from Panera Bread, according to a lawsuit — the fourth person to allegedly suffer a fatal or near-fatal heart issue before the company finally pulled the beverage from stores this month.

Luke Adams, 18, of Monroeville, Penn., was “unresponsive” and had to be revived with defibrillators at a local movie theater after ordering a Mango Yuzu Citrus “Charged Lemonade” on March 9, according to the complaint filed Monday in Philadelphia federal court.

The suit was lodged by Philadelphia-based attorney Elizabeth Crawford, who is representing three other plaintiffs in cases against the fast-food chain over alleged heart scares linked to “Charged Lemonade” — including by families of two people who died.

Adams’ near-death experience wasn’t made public until May 4, when it was reported by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Days later, Panera Bread announced it was discontinuing the sale of the “Charged Lemonade” — which has more caffeine in its large size than a 12-ounce Red Bull and a 16-ounce Monster Energy Drink combined.

Luke Adams case is a tragic example of why the Panera Charged Lemonade is an inherently dangerous product and needed to be removed from the market,” Crawford told The Post on Tuesday.

“Luke was a healthy 18-year-old with no underlying medical conditions before he drank one large Panera Charged Lemonade and went into cardiac arrest. He would have died if it was not for the heroic efforts of the medical professionals in the movie theater and at the hospital.”

Adams ordered the Charged Lemonade along with a chicken sandwich before catching a 7 p.m. screening of “Dune 2” with his pals at the Cinemark Monroeville Mall movie theater, according to the lawsuit.

About two-and-half hours into the film, one of his friends noticed that Adams was “making unusual sounds,” the lawsuit said.

“It was at this time that it was discovered that Luke was in sudden cardiac arrest,” read the complaint.

Adams was “unresponsive,” leading his friends and nearby good Samaritans to frantically call 911.

However, two nurses and cardiologist who happened to be in the theater and began administering CPR on Adams within minutes, according to the lawsuit

The medical professionals then used a defibrillator to shock Adams in an effort to return his heart to normal rhythm, the complaint said.

Adams was then rushed to a local hospital, where medical officials noticed that he was suffering from “seizure activity,” according to the lawsuit.

He was placed in intensive care, where he was intubated and put on a ventilator due to acute respiratory failure, the complaint said.

While in the ICU, Adams suffered from a second seizure, according to the complaint. He eventually regained consciousness two days later.

The lawsuit included a screenshot of a neurological report which found that Adams’ seizures were the result of “unclear etiology, possibly related to cardiac arrest secondary to caffeine intake from Panera Charged Lemonade.”

A cardiology report attached to the complaint cited “heavy caffeine intake” as the “only potential trigger” of Adams’ cardiac arrest.

Adams was fitted with a subcutaneous implantable cardioverter defibrillator which is connected to his heart. The pacemaker has been “indefinitely implanted for preemptive secondary prevention,” according to the lawsuit.

The Post has sought comment from the hospital and Panera Bread.

The chain boasts nearly 2,200 locations across the US and is incorporated in Delaware.

Last In October, Dennis Brown, 46, suffered a fatal “cardiac event” while walking home from a Panera Bread in Fleming Island, Fla.

Brown, who suffered from high blood pressure as well as a developmental delay, died after consuming a “Charged Lemonade” and two additional refills of the drink, according to a wrongful death lawsuit filed by Crawford in Delaware Superior Court last year,

A regular “Charged Lemonade” contains 260 milligrams of caffeine while a large beverage has 390 milligrams, according to Panera Bread’s web site.

In response to Brown’s death, Panera Bread said it “stands firmly by the safety of our products.”

Panera expresses our deep sympathy for Mr. Browns family, the statement said.

Based on our investigation we believe his unfortunate passing was not caused by one of the companys products. We view this lawsuit, which was filed by the same law firm as a previous claim, to be equally without merit.

Brown’s lawsuit was filed shortly after the family of Sarah Katz, a 21-year-old student at the University of Pennsylvania, alleged in a complaint that she suffered a fatal cardiac arrest after consuming a Charged Lemonade in 2022.

Earlier this year, a 28-year-old Rhode Island woman, Lauren Skerritt, filed suit against Panera Bread.

She said that she was rushed to the emergency room and suffered debilitating injuries, including irregular heartbeat, after consuming more than two servings of the Charged Lemonade drink.

Skerritt alleged in court papers filed in Delaware superior court that she has been experiencing recurrent episodes of rapid heartbeat that occur suddenly and without pattern.