Former Los Angeles Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs’ family filed lawsuits in Texas and California on Tuesday, indicting the team and two former employees of negligence in his drug-related death two years ago.
The lawsuits filed by Skaggs’ parents in Texas and his wife in California cite the Angels organization and former Los Angeles communications directors Tim Mead and Eric Kay as defendants. None of the complaints stated how much money the family was looking for.
Skaggs, 27, was found dead in his suburban Dallas hotel room on July 1, 2019, before a series of four games against the Texas Rangers began.
Kay was charged with drug offenses by a federal grand jury in October for allegedly supplying Skaggs with the drugs that overdosed his death.
According to the Fort Worth, Texas indictment, Kay was charged with drug distribution and drug conspiracy in the death of Skagg’s overdose. The charges are subject to a maximum life sentence or 20 years in prison. His trial is scheduled to begin on August 16.
A coroner’s report states that Skaggs choked on his vomit with a toxic mixture of alcohol and the drugs fentanyl and oxycodone given to Kay in his system.
Kay was the Angels’ communications director and he served as their public relations contact on many road trips. He was on leave shortly after Skagg’s death and never returned to the team.
Mead was Kay’s boss, and lawsuits claim Mead knew about Kay’s problems with drug addiction, including the distribution of drugs to gamblers.
“Despite this knowledge, the Angels continued to allow Kay unrestricted access to the players and even allowed him to accompany the team in away games,” the lawsuit said.
Mead’s attorney Eric D. Vandevelde denied the allegations.
“Prior to Tyler Skaggs’ tragic death, Tim Mead did not know, inform, or had no knowledge of Tyler may have used opioids, or that Eric Kay or an Angels employee had ever administered opioids to a player. Any statement to the contrary is inconsiderate and false, ”Vandevelde said in a statement.
Mead left the Angels in April 2019 to become President of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. Leaving the hall in May 2021, Mead said in a statement that “the past 22 months have been a challenge to fulfill my responsibilities”.
Team officials said they did not know Skaggs was using opioids and did not know that staff were making drugs available to the players.
“In 2019, Angels Baseball hired a former federal attorney to conduct an independent investigation to fully understand the circumstances that led to Tyler’s tragic death,” Angels spokeswoman Marie Garvey said in a statement.
“The investigation confirmed that the organization did not know that Tyler was using opioids, nor was any management aware or informed that an employee was providing opioids to a player.
“The lawsuits are completely unfounded and the allegations are baseless and irresponsible. The Angels Organization strongly disagrees with the claims of the Skaggs family and we will vigorously defend these claims in court. “
Skaggs’ parents, Debbie Hetman and Darrell Skaggs, filed their lawsuit in Tarrant County District Court in Fort Worth, Texas. His wife, Carli Skaggs, filed her complaint in the Los Angeles District Court.
“As expected, the decision to file these complaints was a very difficult one for Tyler’s parents and wife,” said the family’s attorney, Rusty Hardin. “Nothing will alleviate the pain and grief of losing her only child and, for Carli, her husband and soul mate. But they want to get to the bottom of the circumstances surrounding Tyler’s tragic, untimely, and totally preventable death and hold individuals and beings – including the angels – accountable for the actions that contributed to it.
“As the federal grand jury indictment made clear and painful, Tyler would be alive today if it weren’t for the fentanyl in the counterfeit pill provided by Angels employee Eric Kay. And if the Angels had supervised Eric Kay better, Tyler would be alive today. “