June 13, 2024 5:06 pm

Gwyneth Paltrow cleared in ski crash trial

A jury has found US actress Gwyneth Paltrow was not at fault for a 2016 ski crash at a resort in Utah.

Retired optometrist Terry Sanderson, 76, had said Paltrow crashed into him, leaving him with life-changing injuries.

He sought $300,000 (£245,000) in damages.

Paltrow, 50, blamed him for the accident, countersuing for $1 plus legal fees.

Listening to the verdict in court, Paltrow was expressionless, staring straight ahead and appearing to nod slightly. She then left the courtroom, declining requests for comments.

Speaking to media outside, her lawyer Steve Owens said Paltrow “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,” he said.

Addressing reporters himself, Mr Sanderson maintained he had been the one hit on the slope, calling the verdict “very disappointing”. Paltrow spoke to him after the verdict, he said, saying: “I wish you well”. He said he thanked her in response.

The two-week trial heard from dozens of witnesses with contradictory stories of who crashed in to whom – an accident only one witness claimed to have seen.

After three hours of deliberation, a jury found Mr Sanderson entirely at fault for the incident in a unanimous decision, and awarded Paltrow $1.

In Mr Sanderson’s telling, the Oscar-winner had slammed in to him on a beginner slope at Deer Valley Resort in Park City. Paltrow then skied away while he remained unconscious in the snow with broken ribs, Mr Sanderson said.

The accident left him with life-altering brain trauma, he testified.

On the stand, Paltrow offered an entirely different account of the accident, saying Mr Sanderson had skied directly into her back as she went down the slope with her two children.

“I thought, ‘Is this a practical joke? Is someone doing something perverted? This is really, really strange,'” she said in her testimony.

Paltrow’s lawyers worked to undermine Mr Sanderson’s claim that his health was ruined by the crash, asking the former eye doctor to confirm a long list of trips he took after the accident to South America, Europe and Morocco.

And they accused Mr Sanderson of trying to exploit their client’s fame, asking about an email he sent to his daughters shortly after the collision, in which he wrote: “I’m famous”.

The closely watched case hinged on skiing etiquette, with both parties claiming that they were the downhill skier and therefore had right of way.

But the testimony also contained several inadvertently funny moments, with lawyers asking Paltrow about her height, her fashion, and how close she was with singer Taylor Swift.

“I would not say we’re good friends. We are friendly,” Paltrow replied.

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