Several months ago, former University of Southern California (“USC”) running back Stafon Johnson filed suit against USC and a former strength and condition coach (Jamie Yanchar) relating to the injury he suffered while performing bench presses in September 2009. Johnson claimed Yanchar physically hit the bar while Johnson was steadying the weight and the contact with the bar caused Johnson to lose control of the weight, which caused the weight to fall directly on Johnson’s neck resulting in his voice box being crushed. As a result, Johnson claimed that Yanchar was negligent and reckless for failing to responsibly supervise the activities under his charge. Being that Yanchar was an employee of USC, Johnson sought to hold USC vicariously liable for the acts of its servant, Yanchar.
On January 17, 2012, the parties filed paperwork with the court indicating the parties reached an agreement to resolve the case. USC released a statement indicating “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 parties have agreed that the terms and details will be confidential.” The settlement came on the eve of a hearing before the court to rule on USC’s motion to dismiss, which was based on a waiver defense as a result of a waiver of liability that was signed by Johnson prior to the accident.