Katie Meyer’s family files wrongful death suit against Stanford

Stanford goalie Katie Meyer was facing disciplinary action before she tragically took her own life in February, according to a wrongful death lawsuit filed by her parents against the university.

Meyer was said to be riding her bike in the summer when she apparently spilled coffee on a Stanford football player who allegedly sexually assaulted a female soccer player — a minor at the time — according to the lawsuit, which was obtained by USA Today Sports. Meyer, who served as the captain of the Stanford women’s soccer team, was sent a notice regarding imminent disciplinary action over the incident, which took place in August, on the evening of her death, per the suit.

“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 complaint read.

“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.”

Meyer is said to have received the notice after 7 pm, when campus counseling resources had already closed, per the complaint, which also noted that Meyer “immediately responded to the email expressing how ‘shocked and disturbed’ she was over being charged and threatened with removal from the university.”

Katie Meyer #19 of the Stanford Cardinal defends the goal against the North Carolina Tar Heels during the Division I Women’s Soccer Championship held at Avaya Stadium on December 8, 2019.
NCAA Photos via Getty Images

The suit alleges that Stanford “failed to respond to Katie’s expression of distress, instead ignored it and scheduled a meeting for 3 days later via email,” and how university employees “made no effort whatsoever to check on Katie’s well-being, either by a simple phone call or in-person welfare check.”

Dee Mostofi, who is Stanford’s assistant vice president of external communications, stated that the head of the Office of Community reached out to Meyer “several days” prior to the late student-athlete receiving the formal letter. Mostofi said the OCS individual “gave Katie until that date to provide any further information for consideration,” and that Meyer “provided no information and OCS informed her on the evening of February 28 that the matter would move to a hearing.”

“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,” Mostofi said in an email to USA Today. “However, we strongly disagree with any assertion that the university is responsible for her death.”

Katie Meyer #19 of the Stanford Cardinal defends the goal against Alessia Russo #19 of the North Carolina Tar Heels during the Division I Women's Soccer Championship held at Avaya Stadium on December 8, 2019.
Katie Meyer #19 of the Stanford Cardinal defends the goal against Alessia Russo #19 of the North Carolina Tar Heels during the Division I Women’s Soccer Championship held at Avaya Stadium on December 8, 2019.
NCAA Photos via Getty Images

Meyer’s notice is said to have contained a phone number to contact for “immediate support,” and was informed of the availability of the resource was 24 hours a day and seven days a week, per Mostofi. Meyer is also said to have been “explicitly told that this was not a determination that she did anything wrong, and OCS offered to meet with her to discuss the matter if she wished.”

The football player was not seeking any punishment that would “impact” Meyer’s life during the disciplinary process, per USA Today.

Meyer was 22 years old at the time of her death.

Goalie Katie Meyer #19 of the Stanford Cardinal passes the ball to a teammate against the North Carolina Tar Heels during the Division I Women's Soccer Championship held at Avaya Stadium on December 8, 2019.
Goalie Katie Meyer #19 of the Stanford Cardinal passes the ball to a teammate against the North Carolina Tar Heels during the Division I Women’s Soccer Championship held at Avaya Stadium on December 8, 2019.
NCAA Photos via Getty Images

A Burbank, Calif., Meyer helped Stanford capture the 2019 NCAA women’s soccer championship. She majored in international relations and minored in history.

If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts or are experiencing a mental health crisis and live in New York City, you can call 1-888-NYC-WELL for free and confidential crisis counseling. If you live outside the five boroughs, you can dial the 24/7 National Suicide Prevention hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or go to SuicidePreventionLifeline.org.

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