Family of Tyler Skaggs takes legal action two years after Pitcher's overdose death

Thursday marks the second anniversary of Tyler Skaggs' tragic death. His body was discovered in a Texas hotel room two years ago, just before the Angels began a series against Texas Rangers.

Family of Tyler Skaggs takes legal action two years after Pitcher's overdose death

An autopsy report revealed that Skaggs, a left-hander of 27 years, had aspirated from his vomit. His system also contained powerful opioids such as fentanyl or oxycodone.

Skaggs' parents, Carli and Eric Kay, filed wrongful death lawsuits in Texas, California and Texas this week against the Angels organization, and two former employees. They claim that the defendants were negligent. In a separate legal matter, Eric Kay, the former Angels director for communications, is facing federal conspiracy charges in relation to Skaggs' death.

Skaggs' parents, Debbie Hetman (Texas) and Darrell Skaggs filed a lawsuit in Tarrant County (Texas). District Court ruled that the Angels were "fully aware" of Kay's use of illegal drugs.

"(Kay), went to rehab multiple time while working for the Angels. In 2019, Kay was not able to work due to an overdose of illegal drugs. He was also hospitalized," Skaggs' parents stated in a lawsuit. "Angels officials were informed of the overdose by Tim Mead (the sixth highest ranking Angels member), who visited Kay at the hospital."

After a long career with the Angels, Mead was appointed president of the Baseball Hall of Fame in April 2019. This year, he resigned for family reasons.

Skaggs' family filed a lawsuit stating that Mead was "well aware" of Kay's drug problems and visited him at the hospital after Kay overdosed. This happened less than three months before Tyler's death. Kay is alleged to have been allowed unrestricted access to Angels players despite knowing or having to know that Kay was involved in illegal drug trafficking. These conditions were extremely dangerous and ultimately cost Tyler his own life.

In a press release, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Texas stated that Kay was charged with conspiracy to distribute Fentanyl in connection to Skaggs' "overdose Death." Kay could face up to 20 years in federal jail if convicted.

Kay's defense lawyer Michael Molfetta stated in an interview this week, that the Skaggs family lawsuit allegations are "extraordinarily ambitious."

"I have read the complaint and it defies all evidence. Molfetta said that the complaint defies the calendar and any logic to blame Eric Kay or to claim Eric Kay was a conduit for Tyler Skaggs’ addiction and his death." It's not an exaggeration to say that the complaint is extremely ambitious. The evidence will prove that it is more than just a rumor.

Rusty Hardin (the Skaggs family lawyer) did not respond to a request for comment but released a statement saying in part: "As one might expect, Tyler's parents made the difficult decision to file these complaints. There is no way to ease the grief and pain of losing their only child. They want to find out the truth about Tyler's untimely, tragic and totally avoidable death and hold those responsible, including the Angels, accountable for their actions.

Eric Vandevelde was Mead's lawyer. He also stated that "Before Tyler Skaggs tragic death, Tim Mead wasn't aware, informed or had any knowledge whatsoever" that Tyler might have used opioids or that Eric Kay, any Angels employee, had ever given opioids to any player. Any assertion to the contrary, however, is reckless and false.

According to a statement, the Angels club stated that it would "vigorously defend these lawsuits at court." According to the lawsuits, Skaggs' family seeks unspecified damages and requests a trial by juries.

"The Angels owed Tyler an obligation to intervene to stop harm from illegal drug usage and to prevent their agent providing Tyler with dangerous illicit drugs." Skaggs' parents filed a lawsuit against the Angels. The Angels didn't fire Kay, they did not remove Kay from their clubhouse and they did not properly restrict Kay’s access to Tyler Skaggs. The Angels also failed to intervene when they knew or should have known of Tyler's drug use. Tyler Skaggs was killed because of the Angels' failure to fulfill their obligations.

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