BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) – A judge in Tuscaloosa was wrong to throw out a lawsuit claiming the daughter of University of Alabama football coach Nick Saban beat up a sorority sister during a fight after a night of drinking, the Alabama Supreme Court ruled Friday.
The justices revived the lawsuit filed by Sarah Grimes against one-time friend Kristen Saban over what evidence showed was a brawl sparked by a Facebook post in August 2010 when both women were 19-year-old students at the university.
Tuscaloosa County Circuit Judge James Roberts dismissed the suit in February, citing Alabama’s “Stand Your Ground Law” as he ruled Kristen Saban was only defending herself during a fight that left Grimes with injuries.
The Supreme Court, in a 17-page opinion by Justice Tommy Bryan, said there was enough of a dispute about what happened for the case to move forward in circuit court.
Grimes’ attorney, Stephen A. Strickland, said the case could be ready for trial as early as late summer.
“We’re excited about the decision and look forward to getting down to Tuscaloosa and getting it before the community there and letting them decide what happened,” Stickland said.
Josh Hayes and Bob Prince, attorneys representing Kristen Saban, said they will ask the Supreme Court to reconsider its decision.
“All evidence submitted by neutral bystanders indicated that (Grimes) was the aggressor from start to finish and that Kristen Saban did no more than anyone would have done to protect him or herself,” said a statement by the lawyers. “We are disappointed in the ruling, but are confident that Kristen will ultimately prevail.”
Grimes filed suit in 2012 seeking an unspecified amount of money for injuries she said she suffered in the fight. Arguments during a hearing and court documents showed the two women got into a fight at Kristen Saban’s apartment after a night of partying in Tuscaloosa.
Saban posted “No one likes Sarah yayyyyy!” on Facebook, and Grimes banged on her bedroom door demanding that the post be deleted. In his decision, Roberts said Grimes became the aggressor by yelling within inches of Kristen Saban’s face, so Saban was justified in pushing Grimes.
Evidence showed the two women became involved in a fight that included pushing and hair pulling. Grimes portrayed Kristen Saban as the aggressor and claimed she suffered serious injuries, including a concussion and nasal problems that required surgery.
Nick Saban and his wife, Terry Saban, aren’t parties in the lawsuit.
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