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Parents file wrongful death suit over Stanford soccer player's suicide

The family of Katie Meyer, a Stanford University soccer player who took her own life, is now suing the school after filing a wrongful death suit on Wednesday. Photo courtesy of Stanford Women's Soccer/Twitter
The family of Katie Meyer, a Stanford University soccer player who took her own life, is now suing the school after filing a wrongful death suit on Wednesday. Photo courtesy of Stanford Women's Soccer/Twitter

Nov. 24 (UPI) -- The family of a female Stanford University soccer player who took her own life is now suing the school, filing a wrongful death suit on Wednesday.

Katie Meyer was 22 when she was found dead inside her university dorm room in March. Her family contends the death was brought on by the school's "negligent" disciplinary action, according to the lawsuit's claims.

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Meyer, who was a senior studying international relations and history, played goalkeeper for the Cardinal and made two critical saves in a penalty shootout to help Stanford beat North Carolina in the 2019 national championship. She was serving as the team's captain at the time of her death.

On the night of Feb. 28, Meyer chatted with her family on a video call, during which they said she was in good spirits.

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Later that night, she received a six-page disciplinary letter from the school, which threatened to withhold her diploma among other sanctions. She was found dead the next day in her on-campus dorm room.

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An autopsy later confirmed the cause of death as suicide.

The discipline stems from Meyer allegedly spilling coffee on a member of the school's football team. The player had been accused of sexually assaulting one of Meyer's soccer teammates, who was a minor at the time. That incident occurred on Aug. 28, 2021, the complaint states.

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In the lawsuit, which was filed in California, Meyer's father contends his daughter was standing up for her fellow player.

"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 lawsuit states.

"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.''

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The lawsuit also also accuses the school of violating its own zero-tolerance policy towards sexual violence by failing to discipline the football player, who is not named in court documents.

The lawsuit names Stanford's dean of residential education, Lisa Caldera, and President Marc Tessier-Lavigne as defendants.

In a statement, the school denied any wrongdoing.

"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," Stanford spokesperson Dee Mostofi Mostofi wrote in a statement.

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"However, we strongly disagree with any assertion that the university is responsible for her death. While we have not yet seen the formal complaint brought by the Meyer family, we are aware of some of the allegations made in the filing, which are false and misleading."

Meyer's parents, Steve and Gina, released a statement through their attorney on Wednesday night.

"We are deeply troubled and disappointed with what we have learned since her passing and have no choice but to move forward with litigation to achieve justice for Katie and protect future students," the statement reads.

"In addition, we are working to seek systemic changes to improve the safety and support of the Stanford students currently on campus, and those enrolled in the future through our foundation, Katie's Save.''

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