Katie Meyer’s parents filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against Stanford, saying the 21-year-old goalie was upset by the disciplinary action she took for the August 2021 incident.
Meyer committed suicide at the end of February. The civil lawsuit was filed Wednesday in Santa Clara County Superior Court. USA Today received the lawsuit.
The lawsuit says Meyer spilled coffee on a Stanford football player who allegedly sexually assaulted a fellow football teammate. It also said that on the evening of Feb. 28 — the same night she died — Meyer received a formal written notice accusing her of “Violating a Basic Standard.”
Because of that violation, her degree was suspended months before she was supposed to graduate, USA Today reported.
Her parents claim in the lawsuit that the notification came “out of hours” when Meyer was “alone in her room with no support or resources.” The suit says Meyer responded to an email “expressing her ‘shock and dismay’ at being accused and threatened with expulsion from the university” and received an email scheduling a meeting three days later.
Her parents said in the lawsuit that Meyer had an “acute stress reaction that impulsively led her” to take her own life. The lawsuit also says Meyer told Stanford staff in November 2021 that she “feared for months that my clumsiness would ruin my chances of leaving Stanford on a good note.”
Dee Mostafi, Stanford’s assistant vice president for external communications, told USA Today on Wednesday that the school “strongly disagrees” with the lawsuit’s claim that Stanford is responsible for Meyer’s death and has not seen the complaint.
Meyer was part of the 2019 women’s soccer national champion team. She stopped two penalty shots in Stanford’s 5-4 win over North Carolina after a scoreless tie.
If you or someone you know is experiencing emotional distress or a suicidal crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
For more information about mental health resources and support, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Helpline can be reached Monday through Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. ET, at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264) or Email info@ nami.org.