In the civil trial, Gwyneth Paltrow was found not guilty of causing the death of a retired ophthalmologist by crashing into him while skiing. The countersuit she filed against Terry Sanderson in 2016 over a collision at Deer Valley, Park City, Utah, resulted in a $1 award from the eight-person jury.
According to Paltrow, Sanderson was the one who bumped into her. The judges agreed with the Oscar winner, who said he had four broken ribs and a concussion, which damaged his brain and, by extension, his life and relationships.
The jury reached the precise verdict that Sanderson was entirely at fault and responsible for Paltrow’s injuries. Following the verdict, Paltrow released a statement in which she 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.”
The legal team representing Sanderson has also been contacted by Yahoo Entertainment. Upon leaving the courthouse, Paltrow reportedly said Sanderson, “I wish you luck.” “Very kind of her,” he commented.
He characterized the ordeal as trying at best. “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.
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“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.” What happened during those crucial moments on the ski hill and whether Sanderson had a cognitive disadvantage afterward were major themes of the two-week trial.
After having a lawsuit seeking over $3 million in damages dismissed, Sanderson filed a new one seeking only $300,000. At that point, Paltrow filed a countersuit. On March 24, the Goop founder testified about her instant reaction to being attacked by Sanderson while on a family vacation.
“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 questioned, she revealed that she had at first suspected a 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.”
Later in court, Apple and Moses, Paltrow’s children with ex-husband Chris Martin, had their depositions read out loud. 18-year-old Apple wrote in hers that it left her mother “shaken up” and “extremely agitated.”
Sanderson told the eight-person jury that his mind was “scrambled” at the time of the accident and that he didn’t realize that it was Paltrow he collided with until someone told him. His lawyers also claimed that he didn’t know it was Paltrow until someone told him, and that he wasn’t pursuing celebrity.
“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.”
One of Sanderson’s lawyers suggested in Thursday’s closing statements that their client would be happy to undo this entire case by changing the past.
She and her now-husband, Brad Falchuk, were using the ski trip as a litmus test for how well their families would mesh, and Paltrow’s lawyers argued that most of his health ailments were already there before the accident and that he is better than he thinks he is.
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