Lawsuit Blames Stanford for Soccer Star's Suicide

Katie Meyer's family says notice of disciplinary action caused 'acute stress reaction'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 24, 2022 10:59 AM CST
Family Sues Stanford Over Soccer Star's Suicide
The Stanford women's soccer team wears jerseys with a green butterfly patch on the sleeves to remember former goalie Katie Meyer as they prepare to compete against UCLA in an NCAA college soccer match Friday, Oct. 14, 2022, in Stanford, Calif.   (Yalonda M. James/San Francisco Chronicle via AP)

"The actions that led to the death of Katie Meyer began and ended with Stanford University," according to a wrongful death lawsuit from the family of the star soccer goalie, who died by suicide earlier this year. Meyer's parents are suing the university and several administrators, blaming them for an "acute stress reaction" that they believe led to her death. Meyer, 22, was found dead in her dorm room in March. Her mother says Meyer FaceTimed with her and her two sisters on the night of her death to coordinate spring break plans and she seemed to be in a good mood—but hours later, she received an email informing her of a disciplinary hearing that could lead to her removal from the university, ESPN reports.

According to the lawsuit, Meyer, the soccer team's captain, was told she would face disciplinary action over an August 2021 incident in which she allegedly spilled coffee on a football player who allegedly sexually assaulted one of her teammates, CNN reports. Meyer's father says she was defending the teammate, who was a minor at the time. "Stanford's after-hours disciplinary charge, and the reckless nature and manner of submission to Katie, caused Katie to suffer an acute stress reaction that impulsively led to her suicide,'' the lawsuit states. "Katie's suicide was completed without planning and solely in response to the shocking and deeply distressing information she received from Stanford while alone in her room without any support or resources.''

The lawsuit states that the lawsuit told Meyer her diploma was on hold and "contained threatening language regarding sanctions" including suspension from the team. It also threatened "her ability to attend Stanford Law school, amongst many other things," according to the lawsuit. The lawsuit states that Meyer immediately responded to the email, saying she was "shocked and distraught." In a statement, Stanford spokesperson Dee Mostofi said the university sympathizes with the family for the "unimaginable pain that Katie’s passing has caused them," but they "strongly disagree with any assertion that the university is responsible for her death." (More Stanford University stories.)

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