Lawsuit filed over Central Coast music festival death

May 23, 2018

Baylee Ybarra Gatlin

The family of a 20-year-old Ventura woman who died last year after falling ill at a the Lightning in a Bottle music festival in southern Monterey County has filed a lawsuit against the promoter of the event. San Luis Obispo County’s former coroner is also named in the lawsuit. [Cal Coast Times]

Last May, Baylee Gatlin attended the three-day music festival at Lake San Antonio. After becoming ill, Gatlin was transported to Twin Cities Community Hospital in Templeton, where she died hours later.

Witnesses said Gatlin used LSD at the festival, according to the SLO County Sheriff’s Office. A SLO County coroner detective also said Gatlin was in possession of methamphetamine and marijuana.

In a lawsuit against Do Labs, the promoter of the music festival, Gatlin’s family alleges that the Ventura woman did not receive proper medical attention for hours after falling ill from possible drug use. The suit alleges qualified medical personnel were not present at the festival.

Lightning in a Bottle had previously acknowledged on its website that drug uses occurs at the event, and organizers claimed a variety of safety protocols were in place to reduce harm.

After conducting an autopsy, former SLO County coroner Gary Walter, who is named in the lawsuit, ruled that Gatlin died of an LSD overdose at the music festival. Multiple medical experts then rejected Walter’s finding. At the time, Walter was already under fire for several questionable cause of death rulings, as well as a DUI.

Walter later reversed his ruling on Gatlin’s cause of death, changing it to multi-organ failure, hyperthermia and dehydration. Around the same time, SLO County parted ways with Walter and hired a full-time forensic pathologist to replace him.

Earlier this year, the California Medical Board decided that Walter can keep his medical license, but he must serve three years of probation over a DUI offense. The DUI conviction stemmed from a 2016 incident in which Walter committed a hit-and-run in San Luis Obispo while on his way to perform an autopsy.

The 2018 Lightning in a Bottle festival is currently underway at Lake San Antonio. It is taking place Wednesday through Monday.


The dehydration was a side effect of the drug use. The young woman probably wasn’t drinking water either. The hyperthermia was a result of the dehydration and the drugs. The multi-organ failure was the result of the dehydration, the hyperthermia, and the drugs. If the woman had LSD in her system, he technically wasn’t wrong- he just didn’t list the cause of death in traditional form. If he WAS wrong, and it was another drug besides LSD, he didn’t kill her. I still think he shouldn’t be doing such an important job- coroner’s findings send people to prison. I just don’t see how he is liable.

As for the music festival, well, I’m not sure what kind of case the family will have against the event promoter. At some point, a level of personal responsibility has to occur. I am sorry she lost her life.


I don’t know? Perhaps the family feels that if the coroner was more competent, he could have brought her back to life?? Or, maybe, they feel that he should have, somehow, kept her from using the drug in the first place???

Jorge Estrada

Some lawyer may settle funding from the insurance company or the permitting agency and get paid for a job done. As for the family, their money will be a paycheck too. Sadly, the hallucinations continue forged by the love of money. I would guess the love for Baylee had nothing to do with of money.


No one forced her to do drugs.

She alone could have prevented her own death.


Kids die doing stupid stuff all the time. Parents feel guilty, and to absolve their guilt; they blame others for their child’s stupid behavior. This is just another case of parents trying to absolve their selves of guilt and absolve their adult child of personal responsibility. What if Baylee died of an overdose in a movie theatre? Are movie theaters and all other gathering places open to the public responsible for keeping medical staff on duty just in case your adult child does something stupid?


The loss off such a beautiful young woman is truly tragic:(

Suing the event promoter for her drug overdose is a travesty too:(

Doing drugs have consequences, one of which is loss of life:(

People should be held accountable for their own actions!!!