Tyler Skaggs’ family is suing the Los Angeles Angels for negligence over the pitcher’s death in 2019.
According to ESPN, Skaggs’ widow, Carli, filed a suit against in Fort Worth, Texas against the club and two former employees — communications director Eric Kay and vice president of communications Tim Mead — alleging that the team knew that Kay was supplying drugs to “at least five” players. Tyler Skaggs’ parents filed a similar suit in Los Angeles. They are expected to seek damages, per ESPN.
“The Angels owed Tyler Skaggs a duty to provide a safe place to work and play baseball,” Carli Skaggs’ lawsuit said, according to the LA Times. “The Angels breached their duty when they allowed Kay, a drug addict, complete access to Tyler. The Angels also breached their duty when they allowed Kay to provide Tyler with dangerous illegal drugs. The Angels should have known Kay was dealing drugs to players. Tyler died as a result of the Angels’ breach of their duties.”
An affidavit supporting a criminal suit against Kay from DEA special agent Geoffrey Lindenberg states that without “the fentanyl in [Skaggs’] system, [Skaggs] would not have died.”
A statement from the Angels referred to the lawsuit as “without merit,” “baseless” and “irresponsible.”
Mead’s attorney, Eric Vandevelde, claimed in a statement to the LA Times that the Skaggs’ family’s claims are “reckless and false” and that Mead was “not aware, informed or had any knowledge whatsoever that Tyler may have used opioids or that Eric Kay or any Angels employee had ever provided opioids to any player.”
The Angels also said that the claims made in the lawsuit were incorrect. “The Angels Organization strongly disagrees with the claims made by the Skaggs family and we will vigorously defend these lawsuits in court,” the Angels’ statement said.
On July 1, 2019, the 27-year-old Skaggs was found dead in a Southlake, Texas hotel room prior to an Angels-Rangers matchup. According to the autopsy by the Tarrant County medical examiner, Skaggs’ death stemmed from “mixed ethanol, fentanyl and oxycodone intoxication” which led to him choking on his vomit.
Kay was arrested in August and was charged in the Fort Worth U.S. District Court for “possess with the intent to distribute” and providing Skaggs with oxycodone pills laced with fentanyl. He has pleaded not guilty. The trial is scheduled for August.