An athlete is suing Panera Bread over claims she suffered heart problems from the Charged Lemonade, which can contain as much caffeine as three cans of Red Bull.
Lauren Skerritt, 28, of Smithfield, Rhode Island, was the third person to file a lawsuit against the chain after two other people suffered fatal heart attacks.
The steeplechaser claimed she had an irregular heartbeat after drinking two and a half servings of Panera Bread's Charged Lemonade on April 8.
Skerritt was taken to an emergency room on April 9 and doctors diagnosed her with atrial fibrillation, which can lead to strokes and other complications, according to the lawsuit filed Tuesday in Delaware Superior Court.
This came after the families of Sarah Katz, 21, and Dennis Brown, 46, sued Panera over allegations that the Charged Lemonade was responsible for their fatal heart attacks.
Sarah Katz (pictured) died on September 10, 2022, just hours after consuming a large soda from a Panera in Philadelphia. She also suffered from a heart condition called long QT syndrome since she was five years old. The condition causes cardiac arrhythmias and people with this condition should consume moderate amounts of caffeine. Her parents have sued the restaurant for falsely advertising the energy drink, which contains 390 milligrams of caffeine
In addition to the soda's high caffeine content, a large serving of it also contains 98 grams of sugar. The company markets its supercharged sodas as “naturally flavored, botanical and clean with about as much caffeine as our Dark Roast coffee.” A large Panera Dark Roast Coffee contains 268 milligrams of caffeine.
Skerritt purchased Panera Bread's Charged Lemonade at a Greenville store on April 8 and claimed she suffered an irregular heartbeat the next day, requiring her to be hospitalized.
A large loaded soda contains 390 milligrams of caffeine, which is more than a Red Bull and Monster energy drink combined.
The lawsuit claims that since then she has experienced “recurring episodes of heart palpitations that occurred suddenly and without a pattern.”
“Lauren continues to suffer from supraventricular tachycardia with associated shortness of breath, heart palpitations, brain fog, difficulty thinking and concentrating, body tremors and weakness,” says the complaint, first viewed by NBC News.
She and her husband had to postpone their plans to have a child because “she will have a high-risk pregnancy and complications may arise during the pregnancy,” the lawsuit says.
UPenn student Katz died on September 10, 2022, just hours after consuming a large loaded soda from a Panera in Philadelphia. She also suffered from heart disease.
Her family filed a lawsuit against the company in October, alleging that Panera failed to properly warn consumers about the ingredients in its “dangerous energy drink.”
She “consumed the supercharged Panera soda and was fairly certain that it was a traditional soda” or an “electrolyte sports drink that contained a reasonable amount of caffeine that was safe for her,” the lawsuit said.
But on the same day, she suffered a cardiac arrest while having dinner with her friends.
Katz's parents filed a lawsuit against the popular American restaurant chain to make others aware of the drink's dangers.
The wrongful death lawsuit alleged that the defendant soda “was offered alongside all caffeinated and/or less caffeinated beverages sold by Panera.”
It also said the drink was advertised as a “herbal and clean” drink that contained the same amount of caffeine as the brand's dark roast coffee.
The nutritional information on Panera's website suggests otherwise, as one large dark roast coffee contains 268 milligrams.
A large soda, equivalent to 30 fluid ounces, also contains a staggering 98 grams of sugar in one serving – compared to a can of Coca-Cola, which contains 39 grams of sugar.
The lawsuit said: “These unregulated beverages contain no warning of potentially dangerous effects, not even life-threatening effects on blood pressure, heart rate and/or brain function.”
Katz, originally from Jersey City, was diagnosed with long QT syndrome, a condition that causes abnormal heart rhythms, at age five.
She regularly avoided caffeinated drinks and frequently attended doctor's appointments, which concluded that “everything was normal,” said Elizabeth Crawford, the attorney representing the case.
A Panera spokesman said at the time: “We were very saddened to learn of the tragic death of Sarah Katz this morning and our condolences go out to her family.”
“At Panera, we value transparency around our ingredients. “We will work quickly to thoroughly investigate this matter.”
Brown's family filed a second wrongful death lawsuit against Panera Bread after he suffered a fatal cardiac arrest while consuming the chain's highly caffeinated Charged Lemonade.
Their lawsuit alleges that he suffered cardiac arrest on Oct. 9, shortly after leaving his local Panera Bread location on Fleming Island.
He was found unconscious on the sidewalk and pronounced dead at the scene.
According to the lawsuit, Mr. Brown, who lived with developmental disabilities and high blood pressure, had begun regularly ordering drinks three weeks before his death.
At the time, a Panera spokesman said: “Panera extends our deepest condolences to Mr. Brown's family.”
“Based on our investigation, we believe his unfortunate death was not due to any of the company’s products.”
The plaintiffs who filed the three lawsuits are represented by personal injury attorney Crawford. Panera Bread said the two previous lawsuits were “equally without merit.”
Panera Bread launched its supercharged sodas back in 2022 when they took the internet by storm.
Many social media influencers who tried the drink were blown away by the energy the drink gave them.
The restaurant chain is valued at $5.8 billion and has nearly 2,200 stores across the United States.
has reached out to Panera for comment.