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Grimes v. Saban

Supreme Court of Alabama

December 12, 2014

Sarah Grimes
v.
Kristen Saban

Released for Publication September 15, 2015.

Appeal from Tuscaloosa Circuit Court. (CV-12-900538). James H. Roberts, Jr., Trial Judge.

For Appellant: Stephen A. Strickland, Birmingham.

For Appellee: Robert F. Prince, Joshua P. Hayes, Prince, Glover & Hayes, Tuscaloosa.

BRYAN, Justice. Moore, C.J., and Bolin, Parker, and Main, JJ., concur.

OPINION

BRYAN, Justice.

Sarah Grimes appeals a summary judgment entered by the Tuscaloosa Circuit Court in favor of Kristen Saban in Grimes's civil action against Saban seeking damages for assault and battery. Viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to Grimes, the nonmovant, as we must when reviewing a summary judgment, we conclude that there are genuine issues of material fact in this case. Therefore, we reverse the summary judgment and remand the cause for further proceedings.

Facts and Procedural History

In the early morning hours of August 29, 2010, Grimes, Saban, and others were gathered in the kitchen at Saban's apartment after returning from Rounders, a bar located in Tuscaloosa. Both Saban and Grimes had been drinking alcohol. At one point, Grimes offended Saban by telling her to " shut up" and saying that Grimes and the others were tired of listening to her. Saban went to her bedroom and, according to Grimes, as she did so, Saban shouted that no one liked Grimes and that Grimes did not have any friends. Grimes told Saban that Saban needed to get therapy, to which Saban replied: " Because that worked really well for you." According to Saban, Grimes then called Saban a " psycho."

Saban locked herself in her bedroom. Some time later, Hannah Muncher went to Saban's bedroom to check on her. Saban let Muncher into her bedroom and locked the door behind her. Grimes, McKinnon Moultrie, and Courtney Reigel, one of Saban's roommates, were all sitting in Reigel's bedroom, which was across the hall from Saban's bedroom.

Page 920

While Saban was locked in her bedroom, she posted the following statement on her Facebook social-medium page: " No one likes Sarah, Yayyyyy!" When Grimes saw the Facebook post, she got up and moved toward Saban's door, saying " I'm done." Reigel told Grimes not to confront Saban. Grimes replied: " [I]f she touches me, I'll kill her." Grimes testified that this statement was a figure of speech, that it was not a threat directed at Saban, and that she did not know whether Saban even heard it. Grimes went to Saban's door, with her telephone in her hand, and began banging on the door with her hand, shouting to Saban to remove the post from her Facebook page.

A few seconds later, Saban opened the door and showed Grimes her telephone, stating that she had removed the post. A physical altercation ensued. The facts as to how the altercation began and the extent of it are disputed. Grimes testified that Saban came out of her bedroom to show Grimes that she had removed the post and that Grimes replied " something to the effect of, okay, that's fine, we're done, and ... called [Saban] crazy." According to Grimes, Saban then " used both of her hands and shoved [Grimes] into [Reigel's] open door frame" and that Grimes " hit [her] head on the door when [Saban] threw [her] back." Grimes testified that she then put " [o]ne hand on [Saban's] throat, one hand on her chest, and threw her back ... toward the door to get her away." Grimes testified further that " immediately after [she] threw [Saban] back [Saban] start[ed] punching [her]" in the face. Grimes testified that Saban hit her in the face more than five times and that Grimes " did not swing back" but put her arm up to defend herself.

The two women were eventually separated. Grimes testified that, after they were separated, Saban threw Grimes's telephone against the wall and went into her room. Grimes followed her to talk to her. Grimes testified that she was bleeding and that blood was " all over the floor and all over [her]" and that it had run down her face and into her bra. Grimes testified that Saban was not bleeding. After a brief conversation with Saban, Grimes determined that she needed to go the hospital. Reigel and Beth Terry, another of Saban's roommates, drove her there and stayed with her until Grimes's ...


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