Report: Pitcher's Widow Plans to Sue

The lawyer for Steve Bechler's wife plans to bring litigation against the makers of Xenadrine RFA-1, the Washington Post reported today.

According to the report, Kiley Bechler retained David Meiselman late last week, and the lawyer told The Post that the party plans to sue Cytodyne Technologies.

Steve Bechler died of heatstroke last Monday, less than 24 hours after he collapsed during a spring-training workout that sent his temperature to 108 degrees. It is believed Bechler was taking the diet supplement and that it may have contributed to his death.

"Our position very clearly is that Steve Bechler is dead, and that ephedra killed him," Meiselman told the newspaper. "We intend to get this product off the shelves and put the manufacturer out of business. … I am all for free enterprise, but a company that knowingly sells a product that kills people is no longer entrepreneurial, but predatory."

Meiselman told The Post that they haven't considered whether the Orioles are also liable for Bechler's death, telling the newspaper that the team has "handled everything in the way we would want it to be handled."

Meanwhile, Cytodyne Technologies did place blame on the Orioles in a statement obtained by The Post:

"It's unfortunate that the Orioles' organization has chosen to ignore the fact that Mr. Bechler had a history of hypertension, liver disease and heat illness episodes and that he was allowed to exercise without proper hydration and nutrition. … The media should be asking the Orioles organization why this was allowed to happen instead of blaming [Xenadrine].

"The death of Steve Bechler is tragic and our condolences go out to his family. However, the position of the attorney making this accusation is based on neither fact nor science. Xenadrine has been used safely and effectively by over 20 million people in the U.S. alone. … There is not a single clinical study that has shown ephedra to be unsafe. In view of this, it's reckless for anyone to point blame for Mr. Bechler's tragic death at this product."

Medical Examiner Cited Ephedra

A bottle of Xenadrine RFA-1 was found in Bechler's locker after he collapsed, and that bottle was turned over to police.

Broward County medical examiner Joshua Perper had cited Bechler's use of ephedra in a news conference on Feb. 18, and said it was a contributing factor in his death.

"Yes, ephedra was one of the significant elements" in Bechler's death, Perper told The Post on Monday. He cited other factors as well, including an enlarged heart, slight hypertension, a liver abnormality and borderline high blood pressure.

According to the report, Meiselman said filing was still "weeks away" and he did not put a figure on the suit.

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