Ucreview – According to her obituary, Sarah Katz passed away on September 10, 2022, at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center in Jersey City.
Jill and Michael Katz have filed a lawsuit on Monday, Oct. 23, with the law firm Kline & Specter, P.C. on behalf of their daughter who tragically passed away at just 21 years old. The lawsuit alleges that after drinking a “Charged Lemonade” at the Panera restaurant at 200 South 40th Street in Philadelphia, their daughter’s death occurred.
According to the lawsuit, Sarah was at a table in Panera with her friends when she suddenly went into cardiac arrest shortly after consuming the beverage. Despite being immediately rushed to Pennsylvania Presbyterian Hospital, she suffered a second cardiac arrest and was subsequently pronounced dead.
According to the lawsuit, earlier this year, she underwent two cardiac appointments as part of her continuous care for LQT1. Fortunately, both appointments showed normal results in her cardiac tests.
According to her family, the UPenn student was diagnosed with Long QT syndrome type 1 (LQT1) at the age of 5.
Standford Medicine explains that in LQT1, there is a malfunction in the potassium ion channels of the heart, which causes disruption in the heart’s electrical activity. This can lead to arrhythmias, especially when triggered by emotional stress or physical activity, such as swimming.
In the 26-page wrongful death lawsuit, it was explained that Sarah had avoided beverages with high caffeine content throughout her life due to her condition. The Katz family is now claiming that Panera’s failure to properly indicate the highly caffeinated nature of their beverage, “Charged Lemonade,” led to Sarah’s death.
According to the lawsuit, the store’s sign promoted the drink as “Plant-based and Clean with as much caffeine as our Dark Roast coffee: Sip, ENJOY, Repeat. Unlimited Sip Club,” alongside a picture of the sign displayed in the store.
According to the lawsuit, the defendants argue that the word “charged” can also refer to the addition of electrolytes for the purpose of hydration, similar to how Gatorade uses the term in their branding. The suit points out that Gatorade does not contain caffeine, but still uses the “charged” symbol to represent hydration.
According to the lawsuit, the “Charged Lemonade” that Sarah consumed contained anywhere from 260 milligrams in 20 fluid ounces to 390 milligrams in 30 fluid ounces of caffeine, which is more than the amount found in a 12 fluid ounce can of Red Bull.
According to the lawsuit, the drink contained an excessive amount of sugar that surpassed even that of Red Bull.
According to the lawsuit, Panera’s actions were responsible for the damages suffered by the Katz family. The suit claims that Panera’s conduct was negligent, reckless, intentional, fraudulent, and/or outrageous. The damages incurred by the Katz family were a result of Panera’s misconduct, which increased the risk of harm and was a significant contributing factor. The lawsuit alleges that the damages include but are not limited to those listed in the suit.
- Untimely death at 21 years old.
- Cardiac arrhythmias.
- Cardiac arrest.
- Pain and suffering.
- Loss of enjoyment of life and life’s pleasures.
- Emotional distress.
- Future lost wages.
- Loss of future earning capacity.
- Funeral expenses.
- Medical expenses.
- All damages are recoverable under the Survival Act.
- All damages are recoverable under the Wrongful Death Act.
- All damages as set forth in greater detail in Plaintiffs’ Complaint and as permitted by Pennsylvania law.
After Sarah’s passing, the College of Arts and Sciences released a statement revealing that she was a member of the class of 2024 and was pursuing majors in international relations and health & societies, as well as a minor in East Asian language and civilization.
According to the school, she completed a gap year at the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China after graduating from Elisabeth Irwin High School in New York City. During her time there, she was awarded a full merit scholarship to learn Mandarin.
According to the memorial post for Sarah by the Sudden Arrhythmia Death Syndromes Foundation, she served as a Red Cap ambassador for the American Heart Association (AHA). Her role involved teaching CPR in high schools and underserved communities, as well as coordinating teams for the Wall Street Run & Heart Walk.
According to her social media and UPenn, she has worked at Neil A. Weinrib & Associates and served as a research assistant at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in the past.
According to the school, Sarah took the initiative to propose a bill to state legislators in Pennsylvania, urging them to make all schools in the state “heart-safe” certified. She then came back to campus in the fall of 2022 with great enthusiasm to start her work as a health communications intern for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
According to a fundraiser launched in her memory, she held various leadership positions during her time at Penn. She was a prominent member of the Penn John Marshall Pre-Law Honor Society and served as the membership coordinator for the Student Committee on Undergraduate Education. Additionally, she played an active role as the social chair of the Sigma Kappa sorority and was a dedicated member of both Penn Hille and MEOR.
UPenn received a statement from her family, which reads as follows:
“We are devastated by this tragic passing of our beloved Sarah. She loved the University of Pennsylvania so much and was so happy and thriving. Sarah was fully engaged in so many aspects of campus life, academics, clubs, socially, and through internships. Words cannot express how much of a loss we are feeling. We so appreciate everything.”
According to her obituary, Cedar Park Cemetery located at 735 Forest Avenue in Paramus, NJ was the final resting place for her on September 13, 2022.
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