Kristen Saban Answers Complaint, Asserts Self Defense, Even Fight

Published on: July 17, 2012 | Written by: Clay Travis

Last week Sarah Grimes filed a lawsuit seeking civil damages for an alleged assault by Kristen Saban, daughter of Alabama head coach Nick Saban.

OKTC brought you Saban's initial response, now OKTC has Kristen Saban's answer to the complaint, which was just filed ten minutes ago in the circuit court of Tuscaloosa County, Alabama.

Kristen's defense is incredibly detailed and worthy of a read for anyone who read the intial complaint filed by Sarah Grimes. According to Saban's response it was "pretty much an even fight."

IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF TUSCALOOSA COUNTY, ALABAMA

SARAH GRIMES,

Plaintiff,

VS.

KRISTEN SABAN,

Defendant.

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Case No.: CV-2012-900538

DEFENDANT’S ANSWER TO COMPLAINT

COMES NOW the Defendant Kristen Saban, by and through her attorneys of record

pursuant to Rule 8(b) of the Alabama Rules of Civil Procedure, and submits the following

denials which are intended to fairly meet the substance of the averments falsely alleged in the

Complaint, which was filed over one year and ten months after this incident occurred:

1. Defendant admits paragraphs 1-3 wherein Plaintiff alleges that the parties were over

nineteen (19) years of age, were friends and sorority sisters; Defendant admits paragraph

47 wherein Plaintiff acknowledged that Defendant Kristen Saban complained to Plaintiff

Sarah Grimes immediately after the incident when she responded, “You grabbed my

throat!”; Defendant admits paragraph 52 wherein Plaintiff alleges that she went to DCH

Regional Medical Center in Tuscaloosa. As to all other averments in the Complaint,

Defendant admits portions as set out herein, denies all others in toto or is without

sufficient information to admit or deny them and therefore denies them and demands

strict proof thereof.

2. As to any remaining relevant and material allegations and averments prima facie,

Defendant acknowledges and partially admits the following averments, but as to all

others denies them and demands strict proof thereof.

3. The portions of Plaintiff’s allegations and averments which are clearly false are disputed

and corrected with the following facts. On Saturday night, August 28, 2010, and Sunday

morning, August 29, 2010, Plaintiff Sarah Grimes was a guest in Kristen Saban’s

“home,” which is more accurately described as a house rented and occupied by Kristen

Saban, but not the Plaintiff.

4. Defendant admits only that portion of paragraph 16 of the Complaint which references

the point in time when the group sat discussing the night’s activities and Plaintiff Sarah

Grimes told Kristen Saban to “… shut up.” Defendant also admits that Plaintiff Sarah

Grimes said “… sick and tired of hearing you.” Defendant denies that Plaintiff said

anything other than she (Sarah) was “sick and tired of hearing you.”

5. Without replying, Kristen got up and retreated to her bed room, at which time Plaintiff

Sarah Grimes called Kristen “a psycho.” Again, Kristen gave no reply as she entered her

room and locked the door.

6. While in her room and out of the presence of Plaintiff Sarah Grimes and while still sad

and upset about Plaintiff’s insults, Kristen posted on her own Facebook page the non-

threatening statement of “No one likes Sarah! Yayyyy”

7. Defendant admits only that portion of paragraph 26 of the Complaint which includes

Plaintiff Sarah Grimes uttering the threat in regards to Kristen Saban, “…I will kill her.”

Defendant denies the remainder of paragraph 26.

8. Having seen or been told of the statement (apparently assuming it applied to her and that

anyone visiting Kristen’s Facebook page would automatically know that “Sarah” was

Sarah Grimes) she screamed at Kristen through Kristen’s door “Take it off! Open the f---

ing door you crazy b-----, I am going to kill you, you crazy b-----.” The Plaintiff

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continued to scream, yell and curse at Kristen while banging on her door. Kristen did not

yell back, but sat crying and upset.

9. Again, Sarah Grimes screamed at the top of her lungs “Open the f----ing door, before I

kill you.” Eventually Kristen opened the door, intending to show Plaintiff her Facebook

page on her smart phone, which would prove the comment had been removed. When she

did, Sarah continued to yell at Kristen and got within inches of her face. Once Sarah got

in Kristen’s personal space, bumping against her body in an offensive manner, Kristen

pushed Sarah away. According to a witness, and contrary to the false allegation

contained in Plaintiff’s Complaint, Kristen did not push Sarah hard enough to hurt her,

and Sarah did not hit the wall or the door frame because of Kristen’s push. Sarah

immediately lunged at Kristen putting her hands on Kristen’s throat. In justifiable

defense of herself, Kristen fought back, hitting at Sarah to avoid being choked.

10. According to an eye witness in the room, Kristen was “only defending herself as both of

them were throwing punches, with not many landing.”

11. At some point Kristen fell back and hit her head on either the bed or the dresser. Sarah

Grimes got on top of her at that point.

12. Kristen and Sarah were both restrained by the other occupants of the rental house.

13. At the conclusion of the altercation, described by an eye witness as “Pretty much an even

fight,” Kristen’s nose was bleeding and she had scratches on her back. Sarah had a puffy

eye.

14. Kristen then said “You threatened to kill me, you came at me.” Sarah said “Kristen, we

are best friends, we need to talk about this, but I need to go to the hospital.”

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15. While sitting on top of Kristen, Sarah (who claimed head injuries from a previous low

speed, rear end auto accident that occurred five years prior) said she needed to “go get

checked out to make sure this hasn’t made my head injury worse.”

16. Sarah added that she needed to go the hospital “to document this” for her car wreck case

and that she needed to get checked out because “what if it hurts my head even worse.”

FIRST DEFENSE

17. Plaintiff, Sarah Grimes instigated, or otherwise brought on this altercation by uttering

hateful words to the Defendant; because she allowed a statement posted on someone

else’s Facebook page to incite her into advancing to Defendant’s private room, pounding

on the door while yelling obscenities and threats at Defendant; because she got inches

away from Defendant’s face yelling threats and bumping her in an offensive manner; and

because she attempted to choke Defendant.

SECOND DEFENSE

18. Defendant Kristen Saban acted in self defense. Her actions meet all elements of self

defense as she did not provoke or bring on the difficulty, fought only to prevent or repel

the attack being made upon her and did not use any more force than was necessary to

repel the attack.

THIRD DEFENSE

19. Defendant Kristen Saban denies that any acts or actions on her part caused or

contributed to the injuries complained of by the Plaintiff. In denying the allegations

made by the Plaintiff concerning her injuries, their extent and their causation, and as a

basis therefor, the Defendant offers the specific reasons enumerated below.

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20. The reason stated by the Plaintiff for going to the hospital was not for treatment for her

bruises and scratches, but rather was to have it “documented” for an existing claim she

was making pursuant to a car wreck that occurred on July 21, 2005.

21. As a result of that prior car wreck, Plaintiff filed suit in the State of Florida claiming

essentially the same injuries for which she now complains against the Defendant.

22. In case number 2009-CA-0002352, pending in the Circuit Court of Escambia County,

Florida until January, 2012, Plaintiff alleged that she was injured (five years prior to the

events concerning Kristen Saban) when she hit her head on the window of a car during a

low-impact, rear end auto accident. Along with other complaints made later, she initially

complained of having headaches which evolved into migraines, being dizzy and

disoriented.

23. In the Florida case, Plaintiff Sarah Grimes stated under oath that she suffered a

“concussion” and “debilitating migraine headaches” which contributed to lost wages,

school absences and possible loss of future earning capacity.

24. Family members described her condition after the wreck as one where at times she was

dizzy, disoriented, nauseated, and unresponsive to directions and having short term

memory losses.

25. In February, 2008, some two-and-a-half-years before the altercation with the Defendant,

Plaintiff reported to a physician that she had experienced a change in her behavior over

the last year and was becoming more emotional and angry. According to her testimony,

Plaintiff was having panic attacks and panic issues for which she was placed on

medication.

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26. Moreover, on July 27, 2011, some eleven months after the allegations were filed against

Defendant Kristen Saban, Plaintiff’s mother attributed some of Plaintiff’s stress related

condition to factors other than the fight her daughter started with Kristen Saban. At that

time, she attributed them to “mean girl stuff” and stressors “related to school,”

testifying both likely contributed to her daughter’s medical condition.

27. Contrary to Plaintiff’s claims in this present suit concerning her “life threatening”

medical condition, the DCH Regional Medical Center records do not state that her

injuries were life threatening. When she arrived at the hospital, Plaintiff had an abrasion

on the ridge of her nose. A CT scan was performed on her head. The results were clearly

expressed with a finding of “unremarkable.” There was no mass, edema, or hemorrhage

present. The conclusion from the CT scan to her head was “no significant intracranial

abnormality.”

28. Moreover, an examination and imaging of her cervical spine showed “no significant

abnormality” or any evidence of a fracture. Additionally her “injured” left elbow was x-

rayed from four different views. Again, there was a finding of “no significant osseous

finding and no evidence of joint diffusion.” The conclusion of the DCH Regional

Medical Center Department of Imaging Services was that there was “no significant

finding” concerning her elbow. Later, two separate private physicians, one in

Birmingham and the other in Florida, reached the same conclusion.

29. When the Plaintiff was initially examined at the DCH Emergency Room on August 29,

2010 at approximately 7:02 a.m., she was found to be alert, and had a normal

temperature, pulse, and blood pressure. No medicine was given to her in triage. The

Plaintiff was able to walk without assistance, was neither confused nor disoriented and

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was oriented to person, place, time and situation. She exhibited no weakness, confusion

and was responsive to all physician and staff requests. She was not nauseated and her

abdomen was not tender. She was found to have a bruise or hematoma located in the area

of her left eye and she had an abrasion of the bridge of her nose and on her left elbow.

She reported to the physicians at DCH that she had not lost consciousness, but had

recently consumed alcohol.

30. Contrary to the Plaintiff’s allegation of sustaining a broken nose in the fight, her

discharge diagnosis was a concussion, headache and elbow contusion. She was allowed

to leave the hospital and go home under self-care.

31. The Plaintiff eventually had surgery on her nose, but it was for cosmetic reasons.

32. Moreover, when she was examined during her pre-op and physical prior to her nose

surgery, she informed her physician that the pain in her nose began in the spring of 2011;

some six months after the incident with Kristen Saban which she claims gave rise to her

nose injuries. The impression of her surgeon was that her nasal deformity was most

likely traumatic in origin from an “undocumented childhood fall.”

33. The Plaintiff made the statement prior to August 29, 2010 and her altercation with

Kristen Saban, that she had a deformity on her nose which she hoped to have corrected

with cosmetic surgery.

34. The Plaintiff admitted to having a history of sinus problems and sinus headaches dating

prior to 2005, long before she knew Kristen Saban.

35. Defendant pleads the following defenses: to the extent they are, or may become,

applicable under the facts or law and because failure to do so could result in waiver:

FOURTH DEFENSE

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36. Defendant asserts the affirmative defense of justification in that Plaintiff was the

instigator and aggressor and Defendant was justified in using the same amount of force

against Plaintiff as was being used against her.

FIFTH DEFENSE

37. Defendant asserts the affirmative defense of lack of mitigation as the Plaintiff had an

affirmative duty to mitigate damages, which she failed to do.

SIXTH DEFENSE

38. Defendant pleads the general issue.

SEVENTH DEFENSE

39. The Defendant denies the material allegations of the Complaint. Specifically, she denies

that she negligently, recklessly, maliciously, willfully, wantonly, or otherwise used

excessive force or committed an assault and/or battery, proximately causing damages or

injury to the Plaintiff as alleged in the Complaint.

EIGHTH DEFENSE

40. Defendant pleads Provocation by the Plaintiff.

NINTH DEFENSE

41. Defendant pleads Mitigating Circumstances existed rendering any of her actions

excusable and justified.

TENTH DEFENSE

42. Defendant pleads a Sudden Emergency existed (to the extent that the Plaintiff alleged

that Defendant acted negligently) and that her actions were reasonable under the

circumstances.

ELEVENTH DEFENSE

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43. Defendant pleads Contributory Negligence on the part of Plaintiff which caused or

contributed to her injuries (to the extent that the Plaintiff alleged that Defendant acted

negligently.)

TWELFTH DEFENSE

44. Defendant pleads Assumption of the Risk on the part of the Plaintiff, in that Plaintiff

assumed the risk of injury by initiating a fight with Defendant and due to the aggressive

actions on Plaintiff’s part in attacking the Defendant (to the extent that the Plaintiff

alleged Defendant acted negligently).

THIRTEENTH DEFENSE

45. The Complaint fails to state a claim against this Defendant upon which relief can be

granted.

FOURTEENTH DEFENSE

46. Defendant should be given credit for any Collateral Source payments made or available

to the Plaintiff regarding her medical expenses. Because the medical expenses have been

paid, Defendant seeks a double recovery.

FIFTEENTH DEFENSE

47. Any and all damage caps, limitations or restrictions to recover available to the Defendant

by statute or otherwise under Alabama common law.

SIXTEENTH DEFENSE

48. Defendant asserts that the majority of the Plaintiff’s numbered paragraphs either contain

allegations which are untrue, or are self-serving, or are inadmissible opinions or

otherwise contain inadmissible, un-communicated mental operations of third parties.

SEVENTEENTH DEFENSE

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49. The defendant pleads and affirmatively raises the Alabama Litigation Accountability

Act, Ala. Code § 12-19-270, et. seq., and hereby demands that the plaintiff’s claims be

dismissed within 90 days from the filing of the Complaint, or that defendant will seek

attorneys’ fees and costs from the plaintiff and plaintiff’s counsel.

EIGHTEENTH DEFENSE

50. A jury award of mental anguish damages in this case will violate due process and equal

protection rights guaranteed to the Defendant by the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to

the United States Constitution, and Article One, §1, 6 and 22 of the Constitution of the

State of Alabama of 1901. In particular, a mental anguish damage award will violate

these constitutional provisions because Alabama juries are given no rule, standard or

guidelines upon which to rely in calculating mental anguish damage awards.

NINETEENTH DEFENSE

51. Defendant avers that the Proximate Cause of this accident were the actions or omissions

of the Plaintiff for which this Defendant had no control when this incident occurred.

TWENTIETH DEFENSE

52. The claims of Plaintiff for punitive damages cannot be sustained because they are not

warranted in this case and an award of punitive damages under Alabama law is subject to

no predetermined limit, such as a maximum multiple of compensatory damages or a

maximum amount that a jury may impose, would violate the Defendant’s due process

rights guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution and by

the due process provisions of the Alabama Constitution.

TWENTY-FIRST DEFENSE

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53. The claims of Plaintiff for punitive damages cannot be sustained because they are not

warranted in this case and an award of punitive damages under Alabama law by a jury

that (1) is not provided a standard sufficient for determining the appropriateness, or the

appropriate size, of a punitive damages award, (2) is not instructed on the limits on

punitive damages imposed by the applicable principles of deterrence and punishment, (3)

is not expressly prohibited from awarding punitive damages, or determining the amount

of an award of punitive damages, in whole or in part, on the basis of invidiously

discriminatory characteristics, (4) is permitted to award punitive damages under a

standard for determining liability for punitive damages that is vague and arbitrary as to

damages permissible, and (5) is not subject to judicial review on the basis of objective

standards, would violate this Defendant’s substantive and procedural due process and

equal protection rights guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States

constitution and the double jeopardy clause of the Fifth Amendment as incorporated into

the Fourteenth Amendment, and by the Alabama constitutional provisions providing for

due process, equal protection and guarantee against double jeopardy.

TWENTY-SECOND DEFENSE

54. Any award of punitive damages in this case would violate the Defendant’s rights under

the substantive and procedural due process clauses of the United States Constitution and

of the Constitution of the State of Alabama; the excessive fines clauses of the Eighth

Amendment of the United States Constitution; the contract clause of Article Two of the

United States Constitution; the equal protection clauses of the United States Constitution

and the Constitution of the State of Alabama.

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THIRTY-THIRD DEFENSE

55. The Defendant reserves the right to amend and/or supplement her Answer should

discovery reveal new or other available defenses.

A STRUCK JURY IS HEREBY DEMANDED BY THIS DEFENDANT