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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
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
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
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.”
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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:
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.
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.
38. Defendant pleads the general issue.
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.
40. Defendant pleads Provocation by the Plaintiff.
41. Defendant pleads Mitigating Circumstances existed rendering any of her actions
excusable and justified.
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
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
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).
45. The Complaint fails to state a claim against this Defendant upon which relief can be
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.
47. Any and all damage caps, limitations or restrictions to recover available to the Defendant
by statute or otherwise under Alabama common law.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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