A jury sided with actress Gwyneth Paltrow on Thursday, deciding she was not at fault in a 2016 skiing accident involving a retired Utah optometrist who suffered broken ribs and a concussion after the fall.
Terry Sanderson filed a $300,000 lawsuit against Paltrow, alleging that reckless skiing caused her to rear-end him on February 26, 2016, at Utah’s Deer Valley Resort. The crash left Sanderson with four broken ribs, a concussion and lasting brain damage that affected his daily life and his personal relationships, he said.
Paltrow countersued for $1 as well as her legal fees, insisting that she did not meet with Sanderson.
Paltrow told the court that it was Sanderson who was at fault for the collision. She testified that she initially believed she was being assaulted when a man came up behind her, put her skis between hers and groaned.
«Mr. Sanderson categorically beat me on the ski slope, and that is the truth,» Paltrow testified.
The Oscar winner also disputed the account of Sanderson’s witness, Craig Ramon, who was with a meetup group Sanderson organized to ski that day. Ramón is the only person who claims to have witnessed the accident and testifies that he was about 35 feet behind Paltrow and Sanderson.
Ramón told the court that he heard a scream and then, a few seconds later, saw Paltrow hit Sanderson from behind. He said Sanderson was briefly unconscious and face down in the snow after the accident. Ramon testified that Paltrow left the scene after about four minutes without identifying herself or waiting to see if Sanderson was okay.
Paltrow denied Ramón’s accusations and questioned his reliability.
“He said he was 40 feet away and he was color blind,” Paltrow said. «I don’t know how he can be positive about what he saw, especially with how much it changed his story.»
Paltrow also denied leaving the accident before Sanderson informed the group that he was okay, saying the instructor handled the situation on his behalf. The instructor filed a report and shared the information from him after the report, he said.
The report filed by the instructor for that day said a skier hit Paltrow.
After the accident, Paltrow had lunch with her two children and her now-husband before skiing for the rest of the day with knee pain. Her children, Apple and Moses Martin, testified that her mother was in shock after the accident and told them that Sanderson had run into her.
Apple Martin, who is now 18 but was 12 at the time, testified that although she did not see the accident, she remembered that her mother was in «shock» that day.
Sanderson, 76, alleged that the accident left him with a traumatic brain injury that has affected his cognitive functions in a way that has negatively affected his daily life and personal relationships. Paltrow’s lawyers attributed Sanderson’s decline to pre-existing medical conditions and aging, and called medical experts to the stand to back up his claims.
Paltrow’s lawyers also cited previous failed relationships and a statement from one of Sanderson’s daughters, who appears estranged from her father, to challenge the idea that brain injury is the sole cause of her strained personal life.