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Rhode Island Woman Claims Panera “Charged Lemonade” Left Her With Chronic Heart Problems

— January 19, 2024

A Rhode Island woman claims that she developed chronic and potentially life-threatening heart problems after consuming two-and-a-half Charged Lemonade beverages from a Panera outlet.

A Rhode Island woman has filed a lawsuit against Panera Bread, claiming that the beleaguered restaurant chain’s Charged Lemonade left her with long-term heart problems.

According to CBS News, the lawsuit was filed on behalf of 28-year-old Lauren Skerritt, described by attorneys as “an athlete [who] worked out regularly” before ordering and consuming approximately two-and-a-half Charged Lemonade beverages at a Panera outlet in Greenville, Rhode Island.

Shortly after drinking the lemonades, Skerritt purportedly experienced palpitations and dizziness—symptoms she had never experienced before, and which prompted her to seek emergency medical attention.

The next day, when Skerritt went to Rhode Island Hospital, she was treated for atrial fibrillation, a type of irregular heartbeat that can cause stroke and cardiovascular complications. Although she was prescribed medication, Skerritt says that she still suffers from recurring symptoms including rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, brain fog, and general weakness. She can no longer work or exercise as she used to, and has been forced to delay plans to start a family.

“Lauren continues to experience supraventricular tachycardia with associated shortness of breath, palpitations, brain fog, difficulty thinking and concentrating, body shakes, and weakness,” the lawsuit alleges.

Gavel on copy of lawsuit; image by Wirestock, via
Gavel on copy of lawsuit; image by Wirestock, via

It notes that, although Skerritt and her husband had wanted to have children, her unprecedented health problems suggest that Skerritt “will have a high-risk pregnancy and may have complications during the pregnancy.”

Skerritt is being represented by Elizabeth Crawford, an attorney and partner at the Philadelphia-based Kline & Specter law firm. Crawford is also representing the relatives of two people who suffered heart problems and died, both after drinking Panera’s Charged Lemonade.

Similar to the other complaints, Skerritt’s lawsuit suggests that Charged Lemonade is an inherently dangerous drink that is defective in its design. Court filings include a medical note from a nurse who treated Skerritt at Rhode Island Hospital, who opined that she appeared to have consumed “more caffeine than normal” the day before.

“You put an innocuous product like lemonade in an innocuous bakery-café like Panera—what reasonable customer is going to be thinking that they’re drinking, essentially, three Red Bulls?” Crawford said in an interview with, or statement to, NBC News.

“Everything in [Skerritt’s] life has been altered because of this situation,” Crawford said. “It’s devastating. She has to adjust to a new normal.”

Although Panera has moved its Charged Lemonade products behind the counter in response to the ongoing litigation, it still lists them upon request.

“The fact that they still have it on the shelf,” Crawford told NBC News, “I find that to be reckless. How many more lawsuits do I need to file, both [for] injury and people that have died, before they do the right thing?”


A woman alleges Panera’s highly caffeinated Charged Lemonade caused her to develop permanent heart problems

Woman alleges long-term heart problems caused by Panera Bread’s caffeinated lemonade

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