Judge throws out a large part of the lawsuit over Stanford soccer star Katie Meyer’s suicide

Stanford goalkeeper Katie Meyer took her own life in 2022. Now her parents are suing Stanford. AP file photo.

Daily Post Correspondent

A lawsuit filed against Stanford University by the parents of Katie Meyer, the soccer star who died by suicide last year, has been whittled down by a judge.

Steven and Gina Meyer filed the wrongful death lawsuit in November, after their daughter was found dead in her dorm room on March 1, 2022. Among the eight claims in the Meyers’ lawsuit, Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Frederick Chung dismissed six.

But the wrongful death claim against the university remains in the lawsuit and could eventually go to trial. The Meyers have 30 days to amend claims in the lawsuit that Chung dismissed, including breach of contract and gender discrimination.

Chung issued an order in the case following a May 9 hearing.

In the lawsuit, Meyer’s parents said Stanford employees “recklessly and negligently” emailed their daughter on the evening of Feb. 28, 2022, notifying Katie that she was facing a disciplinary charge.

The charge was in connection with an August 2021 incident in which Meyer spilled hot coffee on another student, causing a sunburn-like injury that required medical treatment, according to court filings. The notice told Meyer, who was scheduled to graduate in three months, that she could potentially be kicked out of school and that her degree was being put on hold while the case was resolved.

The Meyers said that Stanford employees failed to check on Katie even though she responded to the email saying she was “shocked and distraught.” The Meyers said the notice caused Katie to have an acute stress reaction that led to her suicide. Meyer, who was Stanford women’s soccer goalie and team captain, was 22.

Stanford denies responsibility
Stanford has called Meyer’s death tragic but denied any responsibility.

In the lawsuit, the Meyers said Stanford promises to look after its students, referring to students as members of the Stanford family.

For example, an undergraduate admissions page on the university’s website said that “parents can be assured that their students are cared for during their freshman year and throughout their Stanford career,” according to the lawsuit. The lawsuit also cited promotional materials, admission documents, and parts of a speech by Stanford President Marc Tessier-Lavigne, who thanked parents “for entrusting your loved ones to us.”

In failing to take care of Katie, the university breached its contract with the Meyers, the lawsuit alleges.

But Judge Chung rejected the Meyers’ claims of breach of contract and breach of implied contract, saying the claims aren’t specific enough regarding the alleged contract.

“In an effort to cast as wide and unlimited a net as possible regarding any potentially applicable contracts, the complaint fails to capture anything concrete,” Chung wrote.

The Meyers also allege that Stanford subjected Katie to gender discrimination in violation of the California education code.

The student on whom Katie spilled coffee was a football player who allegedly kissed one of Katie’s teammates without permission.

Meyer’s parents said in the lawsuit that the football player hadn’t received consequences as a result of the alleged incident, but Katie was being charged in connection with the coffee spill.

“Stanford wrongfully pursued Katie and not the football player, and Stanford is responsible for that harm,” the lawsuit said.

Stanford said it reported the allegation against the football player to police and the university’s Title IX office, which didn’t pursue the matter.

Family’s claim called ‘entirely unconvincing’
Chung called the Meyers’ discrimination complaint “entirely unconvincing.”

“The complaint repeatedly admits … that Stanford initiated disciplinary proceedings against Katie, not on the basis of her gender … but because she admittedly spilled hot coffee on another student and then gave inconsistent reasons for doing so,” the judge wrote.

The judge also rejected the Meyers’ claims of negligent infliction of emotional distress and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The Meyers have 30 days to amend the claims.

In response to the lawsuit, Stanford noted that the university had offered Katie an advisor to work with her during the disciplinary process. In the email correspondence on the evening of Feb. 28, 2022, the university included contact information for an on-call dean who was available for “immediate support.”

The university also said that Meyer was facing other stress besides the disciplinary action.

“An initial investigation has identified other perceived stressors in her life, including that Katie told teachers and classmates that plaintiffs (Katie’s parents) put pressure on her to be perfect and that their statements to her and treatment of her had been significant stressors in her life since she was a teen,” Stanford said in a court filing.


  1. Stanford is saying that her parents put pressure on her to be perfect and that may have contributed to her suicide. Blaming the victim doesn’t seem like a defense a jury will agree with. Makes Stanford look desperate that they’d sink that low.

  2. I agree with the previous poster and wonder when Stanford’s going to start going after the male athletes whom they consistently protect.

  3. I can understand a parent’s need to find a reason for their child’s suicide, but blaming the school is a real stretch. Not every tragedy has a villain.

    • There is something really odd about this case. It feels like a purposeful distraction on the part of both sides, when there is no evidence of suicide. The Santa Clara County Coroner’s Office offered a bland one or two sentence statement with no mention of a detailed examination or written report. Is the county providing top cover for Stanford?

      There is also no evidence of a note, overdose by pills, or a firearm. Does anyone know how she committed suicide? What exactly did she use?

      We know she had knee surgery and complained of knee pain days before her death. Was there medical malpractice or complications from the surgery? What about the other thing, in which negative statements have been heavily censored by the mainstream press since 2021, which every Stanford student was required to take, multiple times, as a condition of enrollment…the thing that gets injected into the shoulder muscle. Could that be it?

      • She hung herself! Does that satisfy you to know this? She did not complain of pain, she said it was swollen. Perfectly normal after surgery.

  4. Can we stop the fact-free speculation for a minute? The Medical Examiner Coroner says she died of self-inflicted wounds. In other words she stabbed herself to death. She left a note in the form of an email. The contents has not been disclosed. Police and other authorities do not believe someone else killed her.

    • Please stop with the gaslighting. You repeated a substance free coroner statement not backed by an autopsy report. Where is evidence of self-inflicted wounds? Stabbing is only one type of self-infliction. It sounds more like a convenient CYA term to deflect from other possible causes. The email suicide note is unconfirmed, but you naively buy into the narrative. Now consider my facts:

      Fact. She had surgery and complained of knee pain days before she died.
      Fact. Every student at Stanford is required to have at least three Covid injections.
      Fact: She talked to her parents on Facetime a few hours before her death, with no signs of distress according to her parents.
      Fact. No autopsy, no photos of a blood-soaked dorm room, assuming stab wounds, and no confirmed suicide note.
      Fact. Suicide by stabbing is extremely uncommon. Probably 1% of all suicides are via stabbing, if that.

      Now consider the bizarre theory of disciplinary charges over spilled coffee on a football player who refused to press any charges. Really? That’s what you would kill yourself over? With Ms. Meyer accepted into law school, with a bright future ahead of a national championship winning star player, and she’s going to kill herself because of a coffee incident? Makes no sense at all to me. And what discipline could she possibly face for a relatively minor incident. Not expulsion.

      • First of all, there was an autopsy. The official coroner’s report was hanging. So no blood soaked room. She did not say she was in pain, she said it was swollen. Katie had ADHD and was very impulsive by nature. She had passed on the draft in order to play a 5th year, which is why she opted for surgery. She received several fellowships. She was waiting on acceptance to law school. The email mentioned as possible punishment EXPULSION. But for starters they put a hold on her diploma 3 months shy of graduation. She knew that no graduation meant no law school, no playing a 5th year and the loss of those fellowships. Because she didn’t put in for the draft, she wouldn’t be playing anywhere. For a young woman who had been lead to believe she needed to be perfect. All of this in her mind amounted to catastrophic failure and letting everyone down. With an ADHD brain, she was not capable of thinking rationally in that moment. If someone had taken the time to knock on her door, it would have shifted her focus back to rationality. But they couldn’t be bothered. The school was aware that she had recently been diagnosed and sought treatment.

        • For starters, if there is an autopsy, how about a link to the report (I understand the Daily Post doesn’t allow in comments section) or where to find it? The Complaint filed by Katie’s parents does not mention an autopsy report either or specific details on how she died.

          Having reviewed the Daily Mail article once again, the author mentioned a few times that Katie was complaining of “pain” days before her death, but there was a TikTok video posted by Katie where she said her knee was “very swollen”. If you tell me your knee is “very swollen”, you’re probably in pain as well.

          On the ADHD claim, that is a bit confusing. In fact, the Complaint states that Katie has “no prior history of mental illness”. Though towards the end, it states that she had been taking an “ADHD medicine” to help with “issues of concentration”.

          Finally, a “hold” on a diploma is not the same as expulsion. It is almost inconceivable that Stanford could have “held” her diploma when Katie finished the required coursework and exams for graduation. Could they keep her from attending the graduation ceremony? Possibly…but not her degree.

          Again, I would first like to see a written autopsy report.

          My two cents on the lawsuit. I think it’s very weak. Stanford did not deny her diploma, expel her from school, she knew there was an ongoing investigation on the spilled coffee incident, and I don’t believe it was foreseeable that Katie would have taken her life after receiving that email.

          I also believe that Stanford is comfortable litigating this type of lawsuit all day. The last thing Stanford would want to litigate is an examination into their Covid measures over the past three years including the promotion and requirement of an Emergency Use Authorization vaccine that is neither safe nor effective.

          • The author simply repeated what others had written saying she complained of pain but it was not based on her saying it. You can assume that if it’s swollen it might be also be uncomfortable. The difference is quoting her for saying something she didn’t say. It’s not rocket science. Secondly friend, ADHD is not a mental illness! It is a genetic disorder. It’s clear you do not have it because I explained to you how the thought process for us works and you instead want to dismiss in favor of a conspiracy theory. You are using your thought process to rationalize this for yourself, rather than her thought process in seeing the words a hold has been placed on your diploma until this is resolved. She still had 3 months yet to finish her coursework. The email indicated a finding of guilt prior to a hearing with possible punishment of removal from school. And you are missing a key point here by stating she knew there was an ongoing investigation. She didn’t! She explained her side in November and no one contacted her again until this email on the very last day they could charge her. And if you had bothered to look at more than just her tiktok account, you would know it was absolutely foreseeable that this could occur. When she was cut from the World Cup team at 16 and basically got sent home, she was devastated and felt like the biggest failure. Then her father said it was like looking out for someone’s mental health in a way. Both parents talked about moments in the past and always being there to talk her down. This time they weren’t there. No one was. I’m sorry if you can’t wrap your head around this because you want it to be about a shot. People have been passing judgement on this girl since her championship celebration without the benefit of actually hearing what she’s been saying in her interviews. If people really want to prevent suicides they absolutely must push back when someone says something in a negative way about themselves. A perfect example since you watched her tiktoks is the one where she jokingly asked her teammates who they wouldn’t let date their kids. A good majority said her. So this adult says to her what is wrong with you that your name came up the most. She answered if only I knew. She also added a hashtag amitheproblem? The makeup one where she said she knew her technique was trash. According to who? And then the one where she was failing accounting because she didn’t understand numbers as a language with a complete look of shame. She wasn’t kidding. But by the end of the video, she put the mask back on. The she did the same thing in the last video. She’s quiet and a bit low energy, but by the end she’s got the gregarious personality mask back on. She revealed numerous times how she saw herself and then reverted to the mask. And that is how that facetime call worked. That email was a crushing blow and I would guess she was gone shortly after she emailed back.

          • I want to add one more thing. It appears that this Stanford psychiatrist prescribed a medication for ADHD without doing a complete assessment. In order for her to play under NCAA rules while using a stimulant, she needed a complete assessment by a qualified doctor which required a questionnaire be sent to the parents for a history. Not done. She indicated that she had suffered from anxiety. The parents thought this drug was for anxiety. All the documentation on Concerta is that it’s NOT to be taken if someone has anxiety.

    • In other words you’re absolutely WRONG! The official autopsy report stated she hung herself. She did not leave a note because it was an act of impulsiveness, not planned.

      • Maybe I am, but let’s see the autopsy report first. Where can I find it?

        As an aside, the two local institutions that I trust the least, especially since March of 2020, are the County of Santa Clara and Stanford University.

        • You can find it under the ME-C Data Dashboard. Medical Examiner-Coroner County of Santa Clara. She is case 22-01011. It was filed in April 2022 and if you’re looking for a lot of detail, this won’t offer much more than the manner and location.

  5. Stanford bullied Katie into killing herself!!
    Stanford waited months to finally send Katie their findings, and they did it at the end of the day in an e-mail, (the night she took her life) when the offices were closed, and that poor girl had nobody to talk to about this!! Stanford was holding up her application into law school because she allegedly spilled coffee on a football player who sexually assaulted an underage teammate of Katie’s. (the football player’s punishment was missing a couple of football practices) Now think for a moment, A girl was getting expelled for Allegedly spilling coffee on a football player… something stinks!!

  6. Good luck to Katie’s parents in this suit! Shame on Stanford for trying to blame the parents here while simultaneously turning a blind eye to this football player.

    Title IX at Stanford is extremely strict with ‘requirements’ for pursuing cases, and their inaction is only to protect this University filled with Brock Turners. As an athlete there, I saw plenty of examples of Title IX refusing to investigate legitimate cases against women or queer students citing the SMALLEST excuses. [Portion removed — don’t make accusations against individuals without proof.]

    Negligent and irresponsible! They only protect themselves to avoid bad press so they can continue posting about the importance of inclusion of diversity on their website.

    This is (predictably) very low of Stanford to respond this way when a student is dead. Take responsibility for how poorly you treat your student-athletes!

    Good for Katie for doing something about this football player, and what a horrible outcome! She did something strong and bold, something that the University never did. RIP and best wishes to her family

    • Actually very few have been kicked out. One of those who were was Brock Turner. But I’m not so sure anymore that he wasn’t railroaded by Professor Dauber

    • According to a Title IX report as of Oct 2022, Stanford averaged 190 complaints of assault per year but has only EVER expelled 2 male students. So c’mon with that!

  7. As I stated to another on here. According to their Title IX report, Stanford averages 190 assault and harassment complaints per year, but has only ever expelled 2 males students. So my first thought on this judge finding the discrimination claim as “entirely unconvincing” is he’s already displaying a bias of his own. I’ve read the lawsuit and unless it was revised, where did he come up with, “she gave inconsistent reasons for doing so”? If she maintained it was an accident, there isn’t a multitude of reasons why it happened. I disagree with this judge on the dismissal of the claim of negligent infliction of emotional distress. They absolutely knew what they were doing when they sent it. Stanford’s claim that they gave her the contact information of the on-call dean doesn’t tell the whole story, because that dean is the one who filed the charges. It’s like sending the mouse to the cat that’s trying to cause it harm.

    It’s the last paragraph that had me really thinking. By all accounts, including Katie’s, her parents gave her and her sisters every opportunity to follow their passions. But I could see from recordings as a youngster, that she was a handful. She clearly had hyperactive/impulsive ADHD. Her mom had told me that if she’d had it, no one saw it. Not the teachers. Not the coaches. Not them. I don’t see how they couldn’t. Point is, years and years of criticism from teachers, coaches or them over behaviors she had no control over will lead to perfectionism in order to avoid further criticism. Did she just perceive the need to be perfect in order to get their approval or is there something more to “their statements to her and treatment(?) of her had been significant stressors in her life since she was a teen”? You can misconstrue someone’s statements but not the way you’re treated. Could very well be a big deal here. She certainly had a lot of promise.

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