NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Former LSU quarterback Jordan Jefferson and Tigers linebacker Josh Johns are being sued by four men who claim they were injured in a brawl outside a bar near campus last summer.
The lawsuit filed in civil district court in East Baton Rouge Parish also seeks damages from the owner of Shady's Bar, which the lawsuit claims was negligent for failing to have enough security to prevent the melee.
Lance Unglesby, who is one of Jefferson's attorneys, says the timing of the lawsuit, shortly after Jefferson received a pro tryout with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, proves that the matter was always about money.
"We've said from Day One this was money driven. This is nothing more than somebody with their hand out making a meritless claim against a fine young man," Unglesby said. "
A grand jury declined to indict Johns, while Jefferson was indicted on a misdemeanor charge. Both players were reinstated to the team last season, and Jefferson started in LSU's BCS national championship game loss to Alabama.
Johns' lawyer, Thomas Damico, says his client was misidentified and that the claims against him are frivolous.
"The grand jury didn't find (Johns) involved at all and they had a lower burden of proof than a civil suit," Damico said. "They have no grounds whatsoever to even suggest he was involved in an altercation."
However, attorney Michael Bienvenu, who represents the plaintiffs, brushed off defense lawyers' criticism of his case.
"That's what you do when you don't have a case; you try it in the press," Bienvenu said. "We will try our case in court and we are very confident in the facts as alleged in the petition. There's not a fact alleged in that lawsuit that I don't have evidence to support."
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Andrew Lowery, Cayne Cox, Eric Ewen, and Jordan Wills.
The complaint states that Ewing was left with three fractured vertebrae, a herniated disk, fractured teeth, and severe cuts to his head, face and body.