Gwyneth Paltrow not responsible for ski crash, jury finds in civil trial
Gwyneth Paltrow was not responsible for a 2016 collision on a Utah ski slope, a jury ruled Thursday. Retired optometrist Terry Sanderson sued Paltrow over the crash and had been seeking “more than $300,000” in damages.
Paltrow countersued, seeking $1 in damages along with attorneys’ fees, which the jury awarded.
“I felt that acquiescing to a false claim compromised my integrity,” Paltrow said in a statement after the verdicr was read. “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.”
The eight-person jury throughout the trial heard testimony focused heavily on which skier was downhill at the time of the crash, because, according to a skier code of responsibility, the uphill skier is at fault in a collision.
After a relatively short deliberation, the jury concluded that Sanderson, who suffered four broken ribs in the crash, was 100% at fault for the collision.
“We are pleased with this unanimous outcome and appreciate the judge and jury’s thoughtful handling of the case,” Patlrow’s attorney, Steve Owen, said in a statement. “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.”
Both Sanderson and Paltrow testified during the trial, each telling considerably different stories.
Paltrow testified that at first, she thought the accident was a “sexual assault” or a “practical joke.” She said two skis slid right between her legs and her skis. She felt a body “press against my back,” she said, before the two skiers fell to the ground.
“He was groaning and grunting in a disturbing way,” Paltrow testified. She clarified that she didn’t think the collision was an assault but that was the thought that went through her head during that split second.
Sanderson, however, testified that he had heard “a blood-curdling scream,” and assumed another skier was out of control.
“I got hit in my back so hard, and right at my shoulder blades. It felt like it was perfectly centered, the fists and the poles were right there, at my shoulder blades. Serious, serious smack. I’ve never been hit that hard,” he testified, claiming that the collision sent him “flying.”
Only one other person claimed to have witnessed the crash, and evidence presented at trial showed that, at the time, that man thought Paltrow had crashed into Sanderson.
But Paltrow’s attorneys called a series of experts who used computer-animated renderings and physics demonstrations drawn on a whiteboard to show that Paltrow was downhill when the two collided.