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Mother Suing Flo-Jo's Spouse


The mother of late Olympic gold medal sprinter Florence Griffith Joyner is suing her son-in-law, Al Joyner, for the death of her daughter.

The wrongful death lawsuit filed Sept. 21 in Orange County Superior Court by Florence Griffith claims Joyner failed to "exercise reasonable care to avoid foreseeable risk of harm" to his wife and that "harmful or offensive touching" caused her death.

Mrs. Griffith's lawyer didn't immediately return a phone call Friday from The Associated Press seeking further explanation about the allegations made in the four-page lawsuit. She is seeking monetary and punitive damages.

Griffith Joyner, 38, better known as Flo-Jo, died in her Mission Viejo, Calif., home in September 1998. A county coroner's report concluded she suffered an epileptic seizure in her sleep and suffocated. The autopsy found no indications of foul play or suspicious circumstances.

There was no telephone listing for Al Joyner in Mission Viejo.

Mrs. Griffith, 69, told the Los Angeles Times in Friday's editions the lawsuit stems in part from a dispute with Joyner over control of the famed runner's legacy. She told the Times a foundation that Joyner started is undermining the efforts of the Florence Griffith Joyner Youth Foundation, which she supports.

Griffith also said Joyner tried recently to evict her from the Rancho Santa Margarita home in which she lives. Joyner owns the home, but her daughter had allowed her to live there, she told the Times.

A message left for a Mrs. Griffith in Rancho Santa Margarita was not immediately returned Friday. There is no listing for the youth foundation in Rancho Santa Margarita, Mission Viejo or Los Angeles.

In his wife's memory, Joyner established the Flo-Jo Memorial Community Empowerment Foundation. There is no listing for the empowerment foundation in Mission Viejo, Rancho Santa Margarita or Los Angeles.

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