Former USC RB Stafon Johnson and USC settle lawsuit


According to the university, former USC running back Stafon Johnson’s lawsuit against the school and a former employee has been settled. Johnson and has family had sued USC on the grounds of negligence in the weight room, regarding his horrific accident that took place during the 2009 season. The settlement announcement came on Wednesday, just over a year after the lawsuit was initially filed.

"“The University of Southern California and former student-athlete Stafon Johnson wish to jointly announce that Mr. Johnson has resolved his lawsuit against the university arising out of his September 28, 2009 weight room injury,” the school said. “The parties have agreed that the terms and details will be confidential.”"

During Stafon’s senior year with the Trojans, he suffered a weight lifting accident that not only almost ended his career, but it also almost ended his life. He was beginning a bench press set of 275-pounds, when the bar slipped from his hands and onto his neck, crushing his larynx. In the lawsuit, John alleged that then-assistant strength and conditioning coach Jamie Yanchar wasn’t paying attention to him while serving as his spotter, and that Yanchar was more focused on athletes in the weight room, safeties Will Harris and Taylor Mays.USC denied these allegations and refuted fault for the accident.

One thing that complicated this situation was the fact that Johnson had signed a liability agreement at the beginning of his tenure at USC, much like every student-athlete does. Because of this, USC’s lawyers motioned to have the case dismissed. A hearing had originally been scheduled for Wednesday, but USC’s lawyers filed the settlement papers at LA Superior Court on Tuesday.

Johnson originally sued for unspecified damages greater than $25,000, and because of the confidentiality agreement, the settlement amount has been undisclosed.

Johnson, now 23, successfully underwent reconstructive surgery on his throat, and was able to declare for the 2010 NFL draft. The Tennessee Titans initially picked him up as an undrafted free agent, but an ankle dislocation caused him to spend his rookie season on the injured reserve. He got cut from the Titan in September 2011, but then was picked up by the Washington Redskins as a part of their eight-man practice squad.

Interesting to note: Johnson was represented by Carl Douglas, and prior to who was apart of O.J. Simpson’s—the most notorious Trojan of all time—defense team.