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Judge cites stand-your-ground law in tossing sorority sister’s suit against coach’s daughter

Posted Feb 20, 2014 8:57 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Citing Alabama’s stand-your-ground law, a Tuscaloosa judge has dismissed a civil suit by a former college student who says she was injured in a fight with her sorority sister, the daughter of University of Alabama football coach Nick Saban.

Judge James Roberts Jr. said plaintiff Sarah Grimes initiated the confrontation that led to her injuries and Kristen Saban had a right to stand her ground. The Associated Press, AL.com and the Tuscaloosa News covered the decision.

The fight occurred in August 2010 when Kristen Saban was with Grimes and other friends at Saban’s apartment after a night of drinking. Saban testified she went to her room after becoming upset because Grimes told her to stop being “pathetic” about her relationship with a boyfriend, according to the Tuscaloosa News account. Saban posted, “No one likes Sarah, yay,” on Facebook, leading Grimes to pound on the bedroom door and demand that the post be taken down.

Grimes claims that Saban pushed her and slammed her head into the door, spurring a fistfight that broke Grimes’ nose and gave her a concussion, according to AL.com. Saban claims she pushed Grimes away, causing Grimes to grab Saban by her throat and a fight to ensue.

Roberts wrote that Grimes’ response to the Facebook post was “unreasonable and excessive,” according to the account by AL.com.

When [Saban] opened the door to an angry [Grimes] within inches of her face, it was reasonable for [Saban] to believe imminent use of unlawful physical force by [Grimes] was about to be used against her," Roberts wrote. "[Saban] had a right to be in her home, had no duty to retreat and had the right to stand her ground."

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