Former pitcher Tyler Skaggs’ widow and family filed lawsuits on Tuesday in California and Texas against the Los Angeles Angels and two former employees alleging negligence in his drug-related death back in July of 2019.
Skaggs’ parents, Darrell Skaggs and Debbie Hetman filed lawsuits in Texas, and his widow, Carli, submitted paperwork in Los Angeles. In those documents, the Angels organization as well as former communications directors Tim Mead and Eric Kay were mentioned as defendants.
Skaggs’ widow nor his parents mentioned how much money they are seeking.
The 27-year-old Skaggs was found dead in his suburban Dallas hotel room on July 1, 2019. The Angels were preparing to play a four-game series against their American League West rivals Texas Rangers.
According to a coroner’s report, Skaggs choked on his vomit, which led to his death. There were also several substances found in his system, including alcohol, fentanyl, and oxycodone.
Kay was accused of providing Skaggs with those substances, which is why he was indicted by a federal grand jury in October on drug charges, and he was charged with drug distribution and drug conspiracy in the former pitcher’s overdose death.
“In spite of this knowledge, the Angels continued to allow Kay to have unrestricted access to the players and even permitted him to accompany the team when it traveled for away games,” the lawsuit states.
Kay could face a maximum of a life sentence or 20 years in prison, depending on what he ultimately gets charged with. His trial will begin on August 16.
Eric D. Vandevelde, who is Mead’s attorney, denied the allegations.
“Before Tyler Skaggs’ tragic death, Tim 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. Any statement to the contrary is reckless and false,” the attorney said in a statement.
The Angels said that they were not aware that Skaggs abused opioids, and added that they didn’t know any employees were giving drugs to the former pitcher.
“In 2019, Angels baseball hired a former federal prosecutor to conduct an independent investigation to comprehensively understand the circumstances that led to Tyler’s tragic death,” Angels spokesperson Marie Garvey said in a statement.
“The investigation confirmed that the organization did not know that Tyler was using opioids, nor was anyone in management aware or informed of any employee providing opioids to any player.
“The lawsuits are entirely without merit and the allegations are baseless and irresponsible. The Angels organization strongly disagrees with the claims made by the Skaggs family and we will vigorously defend these lawsuits in court.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.