Katie Meyer’s family files wrongful death lawsuit against Stanford

Stanford goaltender Katie Meyer was facing disciplinary action before tragically taking her own life in February, according to a wrongful death lawsuit filed by her parents against the university.

Meyer was said to be riding his bicycle in the summer when he apparently spilled coffee on a Stanford football player, who allegedly sexually assaulted a female soccer player — a minor at the time — according to the lawsuit, which was obtained by USA Today Sports. Meyer, who served as captain of the Stanford women’s soccer team, received a notice of impending disciplinary action for the incident, which occurred in August, the evening of her death, according to the lawsuit.

“Stanford’s after-hours disciplinary charge, and Katie’s reckless nature and way of submitting, caused Katie to have an acute stress reaction that drove her to impulsive suicide,” the complaint reads.

“Katie’s suicide was completed without planning and solely in response to the shocking and deeply distressing information she received from Stanford while she was alone in her room without any support or resources.”

Meyer was said to have received the notice after 7 p.m., when campus counseling resources were already closed, according to the complaint, which also noted that Meyer “immediately replied to the email expressing how ‘shocked she was and upset at being accused and threatened with expulsion from the university».

Stanford Cardinal’s Katie Meyer #19 defends goal against the North Carolina Tar Heels during the Division I Women’s Soccer Championship held at Avaya Stadium on December 8, 2019.
NCAA photo via Getty Images

The lawsuit alleges that Stanford “did not respond to Katie’s expression of distress, instead ignored it and scheduled a meeting for 3 days later via email” and how the university employees “made no effort to check Katie’s well-being, either from a simple phone call or in-person well-being check.

Dee Mostofi, who is the assistant vice president of external communications at Stanford, said the head of the Community Office contacted Meyer “several days” before the late student-athlete received the formal letter. Mostofi said that the OCS individual “gave Katie until that date to provide additional information for consideration” and that Meyer “did not provide information and OCS informed her on the evening of February 28 that the matter would pass at a hearing”.

“The Stanford community continues to mourn Katie’s tragic death, and we sympathize with her family in the unimaginable grief Katie’s death has caused them,” Mostofi said in an email to USA Today. “However, we strongly disagree with any claims that the university is responsible for her death.”

Katie Meyer and parents
Meyer pictured with his parents.
Family pantry
Katie Meyer #19 of the Stanford Cardinal defends goal against Alessia Russo #19 of the North Carolina Tar Heels during the Division I Women's Soccer Championship held at Avaya Stadium on December 8, 2019.
Katie Meyer #19 of the Stanford Cardinal defends goal against Alessia Russo #19 of the North Carolina Tar Heels during the Division I Women’s Soccer Championship held at Avaya Stadium on December 8, 2019.
NCAA photo via Getty Images

Meyer’s notice was said to contain a telephone number to contact for “immediate support” and he was advised that the resource was available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, according to Mostofi. Meyer is also said to have been “explicitly told that this was not a determination that she had done anything wrong, and OCS offered to meet with her to discuss the matter if she wished.”

The football player wasn’t seeking any punishment that would “impact” Meyer’s life during the disciplinary process, according to USA Today.

Meyer was 22 at the time of her death.

Stanford Cardinal goaltender Katie Meyer #19 passes the ball to a teammate against the North Carolina Tar Heels during the Division I Women's Soccer Championship held at Avaya Stadium on December 8, 2019.
Stanford Cardinal goaltender Katie Meyer #19 passes the ball to a teammate against the North Carolina Tar Heels during the Division I Women’s Soccer Championship held at Avaya Stadium on December 8, 2019.
NCAA photo via Getty Images

In Burbank, California, Meyer helped Stanford capture the 2019 NCAA Women’s Soccer Championship. She majored in international relations and studied history.

If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts or experiencing a mental health crisis and live in New York City, you can call 1-888-NYC-WELL for a free and confidential crisis counseling. If you live outside of the five boroughs, you can call the 24/7 National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or visit SuicidePreventionLifeline.org.

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