tedster - 3:14 am on Oct 9, 2012 (gmt 0)
Could this be considered duplicate content and be affected by Panda?
No - duplicate content means two different URLs contain substantially the same content. Your question is about "duplication" in two places on the same URL.
It is very common for a meta description to be substantially the same as copy somewhere in the body. In some automated CMS systems, the meta description just picks up the first sentence (or the first N characters) verbatim.