Gwyneth Paltrow Cleared of All Guilt in High-Profile US Ski Collision Lawsuit

Gwyneth Paltrow was cleared of all fault in a 2016 US ski accident lawsuit brought by retired optometrist Terry Sanderson.

Following a high-profile two-week trial in Utah, jurors returned a verdict in favor of the Oscar-winning actress after just over two hours.

Sanderson had sued Paltrow over the collision at Utah’s Deer Valley ski resort more than seven years ago, which left him with multiple broken ribs and serious head injuries.

She had denied the claim and accused Mr Sanderson of crashing into her, causing her to miss “half a day of skiing” with her family and feel “sore”.

On Thursday, jurors assigned Mr. Sanderson “100%” fault for the accident and found him liable for the injuries Ms. Paltrow suffered.

They awarded the actress her “token” counterclaim of one dollar in damages.

Ms. Paltrow and Mr. Sanderson, who testified during the trial, were present in court for the verdict.

The actress was dressed in a blue blazer, with a white shirt and brown pants, and did not seem to react when the verdict was delivered, but let out a long breath.

As he left the courtroom, he tapped Mr. Sanderson on the shoulder and whispered to him.

Gwyneth Paltrow Ski Suit
The actress was dressed in a blue blazer, with a white shirt and brown pants, and did not appear to react when the verdict was delivered Thursday (Rick Bowmer/AP, Pool)

In an Instagram Story post shortly after the verdict was delivered, she said she was “pleased with the outcome.”

“I felt that accepting a false claim compromised my integrity,” he wrote.

“I am pleased with the outcome and appreciate all the hard work of Judge Holmberg and the jury, and I thank them for their consideration in handling this case.”

Ms Paltrow previously said she was “very sorry” for Mr Sanderson’s deteriorating health following the incident, but maintained it was not her “fault” and said she had been the “victim”.

Sanderson’s lawyers previously suggested that the jury award him more than $3 million in damages in the case.

During closing arguments on Thursday, the court heard that Ms Paltrow faced “bailout” for a “meritless claim”, and that she had shown “courage” by attending court for the two-week trial.

Stephen Owens, representing Paltrow, said the actress had sat in court for two weeks like a “punching bag” and had felt “uncomfortable” during the process.

“It takes a lot of courage, doesn’t it?” he told the jury in his own closing argument.

Gwyneth Paltrow Ski Suit
Gwyneth Paltrow talks with retired optometrist Terry Sanderson, left, as she leaves the courtroom (Rick Bowmer/AP, Pool)

“(Mr. Sanderson’s) life has been left open, that’s because of him. She Punch. He hurt her and he wants three million dollars for it.

“It’s not fair. The easiest thing for my client would have been to write a check and finish it, but what does that say to her children?

“It’s wrong, it’s actually wrong that he hurt her and wants money from her.”

He added: “This is a meritless claim.

“You don’t drop a three million dollar bomb in the courtroom, call it (Gwyneth Paltrow) King Kong and walk away. You shouldn’t reward that.

“Gwyneth, who could have paid it, paid the ransom, (said) ‘no, I’m not going to do that. I will not allow someone to hurt me and then ask me for a lot of money. I’m not going to do it’.”

In their closing arguments, Sanderson’s lawyers had said that Paltrow was “not a liar” but that she had been wrong about what had happened.

Robert Sykes told the jury that the actress’s views on the collision were “candidly expressed” but incorrect.

“Gwyneth is a good person. She is a good mother and she loves her children and is passionate about things,” she said.

“I think she believes, and I believe Gwyneth Paltrow when she says ‘Terry punched me in the back’ – that’s a sincere belief, but the problem is that sincere belief doesn’t make it so.”

On Wednesday, Sanderson told the court that it was “very difficult” to sue a celebrity and said he felt the purpose of the trial had been to make him “sorry” for bringing an action against the Hollywood actress.

Throughout the trial, jurors also heard from a variety of medical experts, ski instructors and members of the Sanderson and Paltrow families, including the actress’s sons Apple and Moses Martin.


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