Gwyneth Paltrow not at fault for ski collision, jury finds
The jury in the high-profile trial of Oscar-winning actress Gwyneth Paltrow has reached a verdict.
Jurors found Terry Sanderson was at fault for the collision with Ms Paltrow on the slopes at the luxury Deer Valley Resort near Park City, Utah, back on 26 February 2016.
The decision comes after two weeks of complex testimony by neurology and brain injury experts for both sides. Eyewitnesses, Deer Valley employees, Ms Paltrow’s children Apple and Moses, and Mr Sanderson’s daughters also testified under oath.
Jurors returned a verdict in favour of Ms Paltrow after just over two hours of deliberation, effectively awarding Ms Paltrow a symbolic $1. Judge Holmberg thanked jurors and attorneys in the courtroom for their professionalism before dismissing the court.
The actress did not appear to react as the verdict was returned. She previously said she felt “very sorry” for Mr Sanderson’s health decline following the incident, but maintained she had not been “at fault” and said she had been the “victim”.
Before leaving the courtroom, Ms Paltrow briefly leaned over Mr Sanderson and appeared to tell him something. She left the courtroom with her security before the other parties to avoid the press.
During closing arguments, Mr Sanderson’s attorney Lawrence Buhler argued that for 16 hours every day, Mr Sanderson is forced to live with the consequences of his brain injury. Mr Bhuler randomly suggested that jurors considered granting his client $33 per every hour he’s suffered from cognitive decline since the accident seven years ago, and for the ten years he is estimated to live.
“I’m going to suggest a number, you put in the number you think is fair for Terry. The full value of the harm and losses that he’s dealing with every day. I’m going to say $33,” Mr Buhler said.
Meanwhile, defence attorney Steven Owens told the court that his client was a “punching bag” for Mr Sanderson and his family throughout the proceedings.
“He hurt her and then he asked $3m for the pleasure of it,” Mr Owens said.
Mr Owens said Ms Paltrow was trying to make an impression on her children by choosing to bring the lawsuit to trial.
“The easy thing for my client was to write a check and be done with it,” Mr Owens told jurors. “But what does that teach her kids?”
The attorney also argued that Mr Sanderson’s cognitive decline stemmed from ageing and pre-existent conditions, not the concussion he sustained in the ski crash.