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USC football: Stafon Johnson files lawsuit against university and former strength coach [Update]

January 24, 2011 |  1:51 pm

Johnson_200 Former USC running back Stafon Johnson has filed a lawsuit against USC and a former assistant strength coach Jamie Yanchar for unspecified damages related to a weightlifting accident in September 2009.

During a news conference Monday, attorney Carl Douglas said a weightlifting bar carrying 275 pounds did not slip, but was "knocked out" of Johnson's hands before it fell on his neck and throat. Johnson underwent multiple surgeries and therapy for injuries that doctors have said would have been fatal if not for Johnson's strength and conditioning.

"This lawsuit has not reduced in any way my love for the cardinal and gold," Johnson said.

Douglas said he had engaged in conversations with USC in an attempt to avoid filing a lawsuit.

"It is disappointing that we have been left with no option but to file a formal lawsuit," he said.

[Updated at 2:06 p.m.: "USC firmly believes it was not at fault in Stafon Johnson's unfortunate weightlifting accident," the university said in a statement. "We are sorry that Stafon was injured. USC and the entire Trojan Family have been exceptionally supportive of Stafon from the minute the accident occurred. We are disappointed to learn that Stafon has decided to file a lawsuit against USC."]

There will be more later at

--Gary Klein

Photo: Stafon Johnson. Credit: Damian Dovarganes / Associated Press