Gwyneth Paltrow has prevailed in the civil trial relating to a 2016 ski collision.
A Utah jury on Thursday found Paltrow, an Oscar-winning actor and the founder and CEO of Goop, not liable and ruled in her favor in her counterclaim against the man who sued her.
Terry Sanderson, a retired optometrist, sued Paltrow over lasting injuries he said he sustained when the two collided at the Deer Valley Resort in Park City, Utah more than seven years ago.
The jury in the civil trial deliberated for a little over two hours before returning their verdict in favor of Paltrow, who testified that it was Sanderson who skied into her back as she was down slope from him.
The trial began on March 21.
Sanderson’s attorney on Thursday asked the jury to consider his client’s brain injury and life expectancy, suggesting the jury award $3.2 million to Sanderson.
Sanderson’s complaint alleged his damages were more than $300,000.
Paltrow testified last week that Sanderson skied into her. She sought and was awarded $1 in damages, plus attorneys’ fees in her counterclaim.
After the verdict was read, Paltrow released a statement through her attorneys.
“I felt that acquiescing to a false claim compromised my integrity. 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,” Paltrow said.
Her attorney, Steve Owens, also released a statement.
“We are pleased with this unanimous outcome and appreciate the judge and jury’s thoughtful handling of the case,” he said. “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.”
Sanderson spoke to reporters outside of the court.
He said that when Paltrow was seen placing her hand on his shoulder after the verdict was read, she said to him, “I wish you well.”
He later said that he believes “she thinks she has the truth,” but asserted that he did not present any “falsehoods” during the trial.
Sanderson’s lawyer Kristin VanOrnum said that she has “newfound appreciation” for Paltrow, when responding to a question regarding the media coverage of and interest in the trial.
“If she has to deal with all of this on a daily basis, I can’t even imagine and I feel for her on that,” she added, after telling reporters that she was “not starstruck.”
Before the jury was sent to deliberate, Sanderson’s attorney, Robert Sykes, rejected claims that Sanderson was seeking fame and attention by bringing his case to court.
“Part of him will always be on that mountain,” Sykes said in his closing arguments. “We hope that you will help bring Terry home off that mountain with a fair verdict for today.”
Owens, meanwhile, asserted in closing that for Paltrow, it’s an issue of right and wrong and that it would be “easy” for Paltrow “to write a check and be done with it,” but said that would be “wrong.”
“It’s actually wrong that he hurt her, and he wants money from her,” he told the jury.
He added, later, “He’s entitled to be here today, but he’s not entitled to be rewarded for hurting her.”
Paltrow’s attorney James Egan, in his portion of closing, referred back to the opposing side’s comments, saying: “Ms. Paltrow wants him off the mountain, too, but she should not be responsible for the cost of that.”
Paltrow told the jury the collision happened on the first day of a trip to Deer Valley that she was on with her two kids, then-boyfriend Falchuck and his two children.
She testified that two skis came in between her skis, forcing her legs apart and that she heard a “grunting noise” when she felt a body pressing against her back before they both came crashing down together.
Paltrow said she did not ask about the condition of Sanderson after they collided but claimed she stayed on the mountain “long enough for him to say that he was OK” and to stand up.
During his testimony, Sanderson reiterated claims it was Paltrow who skied into him.
“I got hit in my back so hard and right at my shoulder blades and it felt like it was perfectly centered and the fists and the poles were right at the bottom of my shoulder blades, serious, serious smack and I’ve never been hit that hard,” Sanderson testified. “All I saw was a whole lot of snow.”
Sanderson disputed suggestions he sued Paltrow to exploit her fame and wealth.
“I thought, ‘I’m not into celebrity worship,’” Sanderson told the jury about learning she was the other skier involved in their collision.
Jurors also heard from a number of expert witnesses, Sanderson’s daughters and testimony from ski resort employees. Testimony from Paltrow’s two children, Apple and Moses Martin, was also read to the jury during the trial.
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