Gwyneth Paltrow did not cause the 2016 ski collision that retired optometrist Terry Sanderson claimed left him with a traumatic brain injury, a jury found today.
The jury in Park City, Utah, found that Sanderson was responsible for the collision, and awarded Paltrow the $1 she requested in a countersuit. Paltrow lawyer Stephen W. Owens said the actor did not have an immediate comment, but her legal team would address the press shortly.
In the civil trial that’s become a national obsession — from its vivid, if opposing, descriptions of the frightening crash to Paltrow’s ever-changing, casually chic courtroom attire — Sanderson sued the Shakespeare in Love star for $300,000, claiming a reckless Paltrow was responsible for the slope collision at the Deer Valley Resort in Utah. Paltrow countered that it was Sanderson who slammed into her, not the other way around.
During closing arguments today in a Park City courtroom, lawyers for Sanderson said their client “never returned home that night as the same Terry. He never came home. Terry has tried to get off that mountain but he’s really still there.”
Earlier this afternoon after the jury began deliberations, Utah Judge Kent Holmberg granted a request from ABC News, Court TV and The Associated Press to allow a videographer and a photographer to show the verdict reactions of Paltrow and Sanderson.
The Goop founder has staunchly denied responsibility for the downhill accident, and countersued Sanderson for a symbolic $1. Her lawyers have strongly suggested that Sanderson saw Paltrow as something of a potential cash machine, and that the star declined to settle the case for fear of setting a bad example for her children.
Paltrow has repeatedly expressed sympathy for Sanderson’s declining mental health while insisting that she is not to blame.
“I was skiing and looking downhill, as you do, and I was skied directly into by Mr. Sanderson,” Paltrow said on the witness stand last week, adding that she shouted, “You skied into my f-ing back.” In one of the stranger bits of testimony during the hearing, Paltrow said she initially (if momentarily) thought that someone was committing a “sexual assault” because “he was making some strange noises that sounded male.”
With no witnesses to the collision, the case consisted entirely of the two skiers’ conflicting accounts. Today, the jury sided with Paltrow.