The family of former Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs filed lawsuits in both California and Texas on Tuesday, suing the Angels and former employees Eric Kay and Tim Mead, claiming negligence over Skaggs’ death in July 2019.
One lawsuit was filed in Tarrant County, Texas, where Skaggs died, by Skaggs’ parents, Debbie Hetman and Darrell Skaggs. In the lawsuit in Los Angeles, Skaggs’ widow Carli is the plantiff.
“The Angels owed Tyler Skaggs a duty to provide a safe place to work and play baseball,” the lawsuit filed in L.A. said. “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.”
“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. 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,” said Angels spokesperson Marie Garvey in a statement. “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.”
Kay, a longtime PR employee of the Angels, was indicted in October.
Mead worked with the Angels for nearly 40 years, most in the PR department, but also served as assistant general manager for a time. He was vice president of communications when he was hired to be the president of the Hall of Fame on April 30, 2019. Mead resigned from the position this May, saying he wanted to spend more time with his family.
Mead’s attorney released a statement, from Jeff Fletcher at the Orange County Register:
Mead’s attorney, Eric D. Vandevelde, also released a statement: “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.”
From T.J. Quinn at ESPN:
“As you might expect, the decision to file these complaints has been a very difficult one for Tyler’s parents and his wife,” Rusty Hardin, the Skaggs family’s attorney, said in a statement. “Nothing will ease the pain and heartache of losing their only child and, for Carli, her husband and soulmate. But they want to get to the bottom of the circumstances surrounding Tyler’s tragic, untimely and completely avoidable death, and to hold the individuals and entities — including the Angels — accountable for the actions that contributed to it.
The two lawsuits did not specify an amount of damages, but per Quinn, “The lawsuit is expected to seek damages for their loss, along with income Skaggs might have received from a future contract.”