Gwyneth Paltrow has won her case against retired optometrist Terry Sanderson who claimed she caused a 2016 ski collision that left him with him lasting brain damage.
Jurors found that Sanderson, 76, was the one to blame for the crash at the posh Utah ski resort seven years ago. It took just two hours and 20 minutes for the jury to reach their verdict on Thursday.
Paltrow’s intent expression softened and she looked over at her attorneys with a faint smile when the judge read the verdict in the Park City courtroom.
As Paltrow left court she touched Sanderson’s shoulder and said, ‘I wish you well,’ Sanderson told reporters outside the courthouse. He responded, ‘Thank you dear.’
The decision comes after eight days of live-streamed courtroom testimony that drew worldwide audiences and became a pop culture fixation.
Gwyneth Paltrow has won her case against retired optometrist Terry Sanderson who claimed she caused a 2016 ski collision that left him with him lasting brain damage
Jurors found that Sanderson, 76, was the one to blame for the crash at the posh Utah ski resort. It took just two hours and 20 minutes for the jury to reach their verdict on Thursday
The actress smiled and waved at photographers as she made her way out of court but refused to comment.
A statement was released by her her representatives.
‘I felt that acquiescing to a false claim compromised my integrity,’ Paltrow said. ‘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.’
Meanwhile, a deflated Sanderson told reporters Paltrow spoke to him and ‘wished me well’ before she left court.
He also said he stands by his version of events, despite losing the case.
Asked what he plans to do next, he joked: ‘Maybe Disneyland!’
Speaking outside court, Sanderson’s lawyer Kristin Van Orman said she was not starstruck by Paltrow and added: ‘I’ve been a lawyer for 30 years and juries never surprise me.’
Of Sanderson, she added: ‘He is suffering, he’s a very nice man.’
Sanderson was skiing with a friend; Paltrow was on a family holiday with her and her then-boyfriend Brad Falchuk’s children. Falchuk and Paltrow married in September 2018.
Sanderson filed for damages in January 2019 – initially seeking $3.1 million. The sum was reduced by a judge to $300,000 in compensation for the injuries he sustained.
Paltrow then filed a countersuit asking for a symbolic $1 and for her legal expenses to be covered.
Sanderson’s lawyers attempted to portray their client as someone who was lively and active before the accident, but significantly altered after.
He claims that she struck him in the back with such force that he was left with ‘permanent traumatic brain injury, four broken ribs, pain, suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, emotional distress and disfigurement’.
Sanderson told the court: ‘I just remember everything was great and then I heard something I’ve never heard at a ski resort, and that was a blood-curling scream.
‘And then, boom, it was like somebody was out of control and going to hit a tree and was going to die. That’s what I [remembered] until I was hit.’
‘I got hit in my back so hard… right at my shoulder-blades, and the fists and the poles were right there at the bottom of my shoulder-blades, serious, serious smack,’ he added. ‘Never been hit that hard.’
Gwyneth Paltrow (far right) reacts during closing arguments in her ski crash trial Thursday as Terry Sanderson’s lawyer (center) told the jury that her version of the story was wrong
Paltrow, 50, who is being sued by Sanderson, gave a series of expressions during the closing arguments by Sanderson’s attorneys
In his complaint, Sanderson argued that Paltrow ‘got up, turned and skied away’ without summoning help, leaving him ‘stunned, lying in the snow, seriously injured’.
Paltrow and her team said that their ski instructor was on the scene and assisted Sanderson.
Paltrow’s team argued that Sanderson’s decline, though very sad, was not connected to the accident and pointed to prior medical issues.
They also emphasized that Sanderson’s daughter Jenny said her relationship with her father was troubled for many years.
And they repeatedly noted that Sanderson had emailed his daughters, saying: ‘I’m famous.’