The family of Los Angeles Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs has filed lawsuits against the team over his drug-related death in 2019, reports ESPN's T.J. Quinn. Skaggs' widow, Carli, filed a lawsuit in California while his parents filed a lawsuit in Texas, where Skaggs was found dead at a team hotel during a road trip.
Here are more details on the lawsuits, via Quinn:
In addition to the Angels as an organization, the family is suing former team communications director Eric Kay, who told authorities that he regularly purchased drugs for Skaggs, and Kay's former boss, Tim Mead. The crux of the lawsuit is that the Angels were negligent in allowing Kay, a longtime opioid abuser, to have access to players, and that Mead failed to properly supervise him.
"As you might expect, the decision to file these complaints has been a very difficult one for Tyler's parents and his wife," Rusty Hardin, the Skaggs family's attorney, said in a statement. "Nothing will ease the pain and heartache of losing their only child and, for Carli, her husband and soulmate. But they want to get to the bottom of the circumstances surrounding Tyler's tragic, untimely and completely avoidable death, and to hold the individuals and entities -- including the Angels -- accountable for the actions that contributed to it.
"The Angels have been informed that a civil suit has been filed by the Skaggs family," a team spokesperson said in a statement. "In 2019, Angels Baseball hired a former federal prosecutor to conduct an independent investigation to comprehensively understand the circumstances that led to Tyler's tragic death. The investigation confirmed that the Organization did not know that Tyler was using opioids, nor was anyone in management aware or informed of any employee providing opioids to any player."
Skaggs was found dead at the team hotel in Texas on July 1, 2019. A toxicology report said a mixture of "alcohol, fentanyl and oxycodone" was found in his system, and listed his cause of death as "terminal aspiration of gastric contents," meaning he choked on his own vomit. In October, a federal grand jury indicted Kay on charges he distributed the fentanyl that led to Skaggs' death.
Soon after his death the Skaggs family released a statement that in part claimed a team employee had played a role in Skaggs' use of opioids. In October it was reported Kay told U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration investigators that he provided Skaggs with drugs and used them with the pitcher for multiple years. Twice in 2019, Kay sought treatment for substance abuse.
David Samson discussed the lawsuit on Wednesday's Nothing Personal with David Samson. Listen below:
Mead spent over 20 years with the Angels as their vice president of communications before leaving to become the president of the National Baseball Hall of Fame in April 2019. Mead resigned from his post this past April, saying "these last 22 months have been challenging in maintaining my responsibilities to (my family)."
Following Skaggs' death, MLB and the MLB Players Association agreed in December of 2019 to begin testing for opioids and cocaine as part of the joint drug treatment program. He was 27.