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Tyler Skaggs' Family Suing Angels for Negligence in 2019 Drug-Related Death

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVJune 29, 2021

AP Photo/Kyusung Gong, File

The family of late Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Tyler Skaggs has filed suit against the team, according to the Los Angeles Times' Nathan Fenno.

Fenno reported Skaggs' widow, Carli Skaggs, and his parents, Darrell and Debbie Skaggs, have filed negligence and wrongful death lawsuits in connection with his overdose death in 2019, alleging that former communications director Eric Kay was distributing illegal drugs to Angels players.

Carli Skaggs' lawsuit said, per Fenno:

"The Angels owed Tyler Skaggs a duty to provide a safe place to work and play baseball. 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."

The Angels issued a statement Tuesday, saying the lawsuits are "entirely without merit":

Chelsea Janes @chelsea_janes

Angels have released the following statement about the lawsuit filed by Tyler Skaggs’s family: <a href="https://t.co/LxbuKAVIUh">pic.twitter.com/LxbuKAVIUh</a>

Skaggs was found dead in his Southlake, Texas, hotel room on July 1, 2019. Following an autopsy, the Tarrant County medical examiner’s office said he died of an accidental drug overdose.

In October 2019, ESPN's T.J. Quinn reported Kay had spoken with officials from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and admitted giving oxycodone to Skaggs. Oxycodone was one of the substances in Skaggs's system at the time of his death.

Kay also told investigators he had informed two members of the Angels organization of Skaggs' drug use as early as 2017. Tim Mead, the team's former vice president of communications and one of the employees in question, denied the allegation. 

"I have had a lot of conversations with Eric Kay about a lot of things, but opioids and Tyler Skaggs were not one of them," Mead told Quinn, adding he wasn't aware of Skaggs' misusing opioids.

Both Mead and Kay are named as defendants in the lawsuits.

Quinn shared screenshots of Venmo transactions allegedly conducted between Kay and Skaggs. Kay's mother, Sandy, and wife, Camela, also told Quinn he had received a text from Skaggs about procuring unspecified drugs. Upon seeing the communications between Kay and Skaggs, Sandy Kay said she reached out to the Angels about the situation in order for Skaggs to stop messaging her son.

Last August, Kay was arrested and charged with conspiracy to distribute fentanyl resulting from Skaggs' death. He pleaded not guilty.

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