Parents of Former Stanford Soccer Star Katie Meyer File Lawsuit Against School

Erin WalshNovember 25, 2022

SAN JOSE, CA - DECEMBER 8: Stanford Cardinal goalkeeper Katie Meyer #19 during a game between UNC and Stanford Soccer W at Avaya Satdium on December 8, 2019 in San Jose, California. (Photo by John Todd/ISI Photos/Getty Images).
John Todd/ISI Photos/Getty Images

The parents of Stanford Cardinal soccer star Katie Meyer, who died by suicide in March, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the university on Wednesday in Santa Clara County Superior Court, according to Jennifer Calfas of the Wall Street Journal.

Steven and Gina Meyer allege that the university's "overly punitive" disciplinary action led to their daughter's death.

The lawsuit said Meyer received a formal disciplinary charge on Feb. 28 that could have resulted in her removal from the university after she allegedly spilled coffee on a Stanford football player. The football player allegedly sexually assaulted one of her teammates on the women's soccer team who was a minor at the time.

Meyer responded to the disciplinary-charge letter saying she was "shocked and distraught," according to the lawsuit. Meyer was found dead on March 1.

The lawsuit states, via ESPN:

"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. 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 also states that before receiving the letter, Meyer was in a good mood and went about her daily activities, including attending classes and soccer practices, and FaceTiming her mom and sisters.

Luisa Rapport, a Stanford spokesperson, said the Office of Community Standards reached out to Meyer days before the letter was sent and provided her with a 24/7 phone number to contact for support.

Rapport added that the Office of Community Standards responded to Meyer's email stating that she was "shocked and distraught" by providing her with times to meet to discuss the matter.

"The Stanford community continues to grieve Katie’s tragic death and we sympathize with her family for the unimaginable pain that Katie’s passing has caused them," Rapport said. "However, we strongly disagree with any assertion that the university is responsible for her death."

She added: "We plan to fully defend the university and named defendants against these allegations."

Meyer, a captain of the soccer team, rose to fame when she made two massive saves in a shootout during the 2019 Division I women's soccer championship game against the North Carolina Tar Heels. She was studying international relations.

If you or someone you know is in immediate crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 for 24/7 access to a trained counselor. You can also contact the Crisis Text Line by texting "HOME" to 741741. For more information about ongoing support and mental health resources, contact the HelpLine at the National Alliance on Mental Illness by calling 1-800-950-NAMI (6264) or emailing info@nami.org.