Home News Gwyneth Paltrow gets $1 acquitted of wrongdoing in a skiing accident

Gwyneth Paltrow gets $1 acquitted of wrongdoing in a skiing accident

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  • Written by Holly Honderich and Sam Cabral
  • In Washington, D.C. and Park City, Utah

Explanatory video

Watch: the highlight of an extraordinary experience – in two minutes

Hollywood actress Gwyneth Paltrow has thanked a jury that found her not liable for a 2016 skiing accident at a resort in Utah.

Retired ophthalmologist Terry Sanderson, 76, said Ms. Paltrow beat him up, causing life-changing injuries.

Sanderson, who was seeking $300,000 (£245,000) in damages, said Thursday’s decision was “extremely disappointing”.

The jury sided with Paltrow, 50, who blamed Sanderson for the accident and contested $1 plus legal fees.

When the verdict was heard in court, Ms. Paltrow was expressionless, staring straight ahead and appearing to nod her head slightly. Then I went out.

When I left, I stopped briefly to talk to Mr. Sanderson. He later said that she told him: “I wish you well. He answered me: Thank you, dear.”

“I felt accepting a false statement threatened my integrity,” the Oscar-winning actress said in a statement posted to her Instagram to her 8.3 million followers.

She said she was pleased with the outcome and thanked the judge and eight members of the jury for their “careful handling of this case”.

The jury took three hours of deliberation to unanimously find Mr. Sanderson fully responsible for the accident, awarding Paltrow the nominal amount he sought.

Contrasting stories

Speaking to foreign media, her attorney, Steve Owens, said Ms. Paltrow is “used to standing up for what she believes in”.

“This situation was no different,” he said, “and you will continue to stand up for what is right.”

Afterwards, Sanderson confirmed that he was the one injured on the ramp and noted that Paltrow’s star strength helped her on the court.

“You get what’s called credibility as a celebrity,” he said. “Really, who wants to meet a celebrity?”

The two-week trial heard dozens of witnesses who had conflicting accounts of who met with whom.

In Mr. Sanderson’s story, the actress bumped him on a novice slope at Deer Valley Park City Resort. Mrs. Paltrow then flinched, Paltrow said, as he lay unconscious in the snow with broken ribs.

He testified that the accident left him with life-changing head trauma.

Explanatory video

Watch the moment the verdict is announced in Paltrow’s skiing accident

On the catwalk, the star of Shakespeare in love and the star of Iron Man told a very different story.

She said Mr Sanderson skated on her back when she came down the slope with her two children.

In her testimony, she said, “I thought, ‘Is this a joke? Is someone doing something rotten? It’s really weird.'”

Paltrow said Mr. Sanderson was conscious when she left and even apologized to her.

Paltrow’s attorneys have worked to undermine Sanderson’s claim that his health was ruined by the accident, pointing to a long list of trips he took after the accident to South America, Europe and Morocco.

They accused Mr Sanderson of trying to exploit their client’s notoriety and asked him about an email he sent to his daughters shortly after the collision, in which he wrote: “I’m famous”.

The case hinged on ski etiquette, as both sides claimed they were downhill skiers and therefore had the right of way.

But the testimony also contained several unintentionally funny moments, as lawyers asked Ms. Paltrow about her height, clothing and how close she was to singer Taylor Swift.

There was also a scuffle in the mini-courtroom over the handing over of a “gift” from Ms. Paltrow to the court’s security staff, which was ultimately denied by the judge. Later, one of Paltrow’s bodyguards told BBC News that she wanted to buy them lunch.

In a separate exchange, Kristan Van Orman, one of Mr. Sanderson’s attorneys, told Ms. Paltrow during cross-examination that she was jealous of his height.

Explanatory video

WATCH: Paltrow has the last word with the man who sued her

The lawyer told reporters after the verdict that she was “not surprised” at the trial. “I have a newfound appreciation for Ms. Paltrow if she has to face all of this [media attention] On a daily basis ” .

Sanderson initially tried to sue Paltrow for $3.1 million, but that case was dismissed.

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