So here's the situation:
The other night I was at get together at the apartment of someone I thought to be a very good friend of mine, we'll call her "N". Long story short, at some point N was using her laptop to order some food to be delivered, and when she was done she placed her laptop on the chair I was standing directly in front of, and when I went to sit down I busted the screen.
I didn't think this was a huge deal. I own a small computer and electronics repair shop and immediately offered to repair it for her only at the cost of the part ($80). She freaked out, saying it was completely my fault and should be completely covered by me. I remained calm and said that I really didn't think it was my fault since she had placed it there almost directly before I sat down. She told me that she wanted me to leave her apartment. I asked if we calm down and talk about this like two reasonable people (exact words), and she declined and told me to leave. Figuring that $80 isn't worth losing a friend over (not to mention I had no where to go), I told her that if everyone else thought it was my fault then I would buy the part and fix it for free. They did (should have seen that coming), and so I told her I would fix it for free, I even pulled out my wallet and offered to hand over the money for the part right there and then.
It was at this point that N's younger brother decided to jump in and start yelling in my face. He said, no, we're having it fixed at the Apple store. I said don't be ridiculous, they charge $450 to fix it. We got into a bit of a shouting match, with him threatening to call the police, to call his rich father, to call his rich fathers lawyer, etc. At this point the only person that had been sticking up for me said that I should probably just go, and I agreed.
After I left, I texted N saying that I honestly didn't think it was my fault, I thought it was ridiculous that she thought she needed to punish me by making me pay many times as much to have it repaired, and I hoped that in the morning she would come to her senses and we could still be friends. Well, guess not because in the morning N emailed me with a bill from the Apple store for over $540.
So, now that the back story has been established, on to my questions. Is there any reason that I shouldn't let this escalate to a lawsuit? She's made it clear that the friendship is over and she wants full payment. It's my understanding that if you want to sue someone over damages you should get at least a couple of different estimates, but she took her laptop to the place that would charge the very most to get it fixed. I think I should go around to the other local computer shops and get estimates and use those to dispute the amount in question, as well as dispute that she is not at least partially responsible for the damages.
Other Important(?) Facts/Questions:
-At the time, she claimed that she was "stone cold sober". Clearly a ridiculous claim. The occasion of the get together was a sort of local holiday which basically centers around getting as drunk as possible all day long. I had to work, so I didn't show up until 8PM, but she had started well before noon. While it's true that she had slowed down and wasn't drinking much by the time I got there, she did participate in smoking marijuana while I was there (as did I), only 1-2 hours before the incident. She had also been smoking throughout the day.
-Everyone there (almost a dozen people) was drunk, and nearly everyone had smoked. Should I bring up the marijuana use in court? Will there be any consequences of admitting to illegal marijuana use in a civil court?
-The chair in question is a bar chair (i.e. a taller, armless chair). The reason I bring this up is because it's the sort of chair that you can't just plop yourself down on, you have to know right where it is before sitting. I think I should use this as proof that I has already positioned myself in front of the chair to sit down before the laptop had been placed there.
-Even though I had I had positioned myself to sit down, I did not do so immediately. I had walked over to the (then empty) chair, but gotten distracted. This part is a little fuzzy, but I think that I was talking to someone which is why I did not sit down right away. She claims that the laptop had been there for 2-3 minutes, I feel like it was at most 30 seconds to a minute as she has just been using it 2-3 minutes prior.
-During the shouting match with N's brother, he said "get in my face" as a challenge, so I walked right up to him and looked him right in the eye. he then said "touch me" in "i dare you" sort of way, so I raised my hand and slowly and deliberately (but not forcefully) poked him in the chest. I think it was at this point he said he would call the police, citing assault. Relevant?
-There were at least a couple of underage drinkers at the apartment, including the brother. Relevant? I am of legal age.
-I am under probation for an unrelated incident that occurred over two years ago and should not have been drinking. However, I'll be done with it (May) by the time this would go to court. What do I have to worry about here?
Anyway, I know this is a huge wall of text and probably has a lot of irrelevant information. I really appreciate anyone that takes the time to read through this and give me any advice you can. If you do give advice, please cite your qualifications/experience. Thanks!