Gwyneth Paltrow found not liable in Utah ski crash case, awarded $1
Gwyneth Paltrow was found not liable in the civil trial in which a retired optometrist alleged that she had crashed into him on a ski slope.
An eight-person jury awarded her the $1 she had been seeking in a countersuit from Terry Sanderson over a 2016 collision on a Deer Valley ski slope in Park City, Utah. Paltrow claimed it was Sanderson who slammed into her. While he said that he sustained four broken ribs and a concussion, and that it affected his brain and, therefore, every aspect of his life, including his relationships with others, the jury sided with the Oscar winner.
The jurors found, specifically, that Sanderson was 100 percent at fault and that he had caused harm to Paltrow.
In a statement after the verdict, Paltrow said, "I felt that acquiescing to a false claim compromised my integrity. I am pleased with the outcome and I appreciate all of the hard work of Judge Holmberg and the jury, and thank them for their thoughtfulness in handling this case."
Her legal team commented, too: "We are pleased with this unanimous outcome and appreciate the judge and jury's thoughtful handling of the case. Gwyneth has a history of advocating for what she believes in – this situation was no different and she will continue to stand up for what is right."
Yahoo Entertainment has also reached out to Sanderson's lawyers.
Sanderson himself told Extra that Paltrow said to him, "I wish you well," as she left the courtroom.
"Very kind of her," he commented.
He said it had been a tough trial.
"You get some assumed credibility from being a famous person… Who wants to take on a celebrity? No wonder I hesitated. It's difficult," Sanderson said. "Who wants to do that someone who learns lines, learns how to play someone else's part and be believable, be credible, wins awards? Who wants to go on that path."
Much of the testimony in the two-week trial centered on precisely what happened in those critical moments on the ski hill and whether Sanderson had a cognitive deficit afterward.
While Sanderson initially sought more than $3 million in damages, that suit was dismissed, and he later refiled it for $300,000. That's when Paltrow countersued.
The Goop founder herself took the stand on March 24, describing her immediate reaction to allegedly being struck by Sanderson during a family trip.
"Well, I was confused at first, and I didn't know exactly what was happening," Paltrow said. "It's a very strange thing to happen on a ski slope. And I froze, and I would say I got very upset a couple seconds later."
When asked, she said that she initially worried the incident was an intentional sexual assault.
"So that was a quick thought that went through my head when I was trying to reconcile what was happening," Paltrow said. "I was skiing and two skis came between my skis, forcing my legs apart, and then there was a body pressing against me. And there was a very strange grunting noise, so my brain was trying to make sense of what was happening. I thought, 'Is this a practical joke? Is someone, like, doing something perverted? This is really, really strange. My mind was going very, very quickly, and I was trying to ascertain what was happening."
The depositions of Paltrow's children with ex-husband Chris Martin, Apple and Moses, were later read aloud during court. Apple, now 18, said in hers that her mom was "shaken up," even "very frantic" afterward.
Meanwhile, Sanderson's legal team argued that he hadn't even know that it was Paltrow he collided with until someone told him, and that he wasn't seeking fame, even though there was discussion over an email he had sent his daughters just after the accident, with the subject line, "I'm famous...." He told the eight-person jury that his head had been "scrambled" at the time.
"I didn't pick my words well, not at all how I felt," he said, "and I was really trying to add a little levity to a serious situation and it backfired."
In closing arguments Thursday, one of Sanderson's attorneys argued that their client would gladly go back in time, if he could, and make sure that none of this had ever happened.
Paltrow's lawyers argued that most of his physical symptoms were already there before the accident and that he's better than he thinks he is, and that he'd negatively affected an important time in her life, as she and her husband Brad Falchuk, who was then her boyfriend, were on the ski trip to gauge how well their families could blend.