A jury has decided that Oscar-winning actress Gwyneth Paltrow is not responsible for a retired optometrist’s injuries caused in a 2016 ski collision in Utah.
To the contrary, jurors decided that it was the optometrist, Terry Sanderson, who was at fault in collision, and accepted Paltrow’s countersuit demand of $1 in damages. The trial began on March 21, with jurors going into deliberations on March 30. It took just three hours for the jury to return their verdict.
Sanderson claimed that the actress was skiing behind him on the slope and had turned to watch her children before, as his attorney said in court Tuesday, “she turns her head back down, she screams, then skis into the back of Terry Sanderson.” Sanderson’s attorney, Lawrence Buhler, said that after the collision, his client was left “facedown in the snow, unconscious,” according to The Washington Post. After the encounter, Paltrow allegedly fled, leaving Sanderson “stunned, lying in the snow, seriously injured,” according to his lawsuit. Paltrow didn’t call for help, he added.
Sanderson later went to an emergency room and was diagnosed with a concussion and four broken ribs. Sanderson’s ski companion, Craig Ramon, testified at the civil trial that he saw Paltrow crash into Sanderson and knock him over.
“I hear this scream and then I see this skier just slam into the back of Terry,” Ramon testified.
Sanderson’s lawsuit claims he suffered a “permanent traumatic brain injury, four broken ribs, pain, suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, emotional distress and disfigurement.”
Paltrow’s attorneys have argued that, while a collision did occur between the actress and Sanderson seven years ago, it was the retired optometrist who crashed into her. One of her attorneys, Stephen Owens, said at the trial that because Paltrow was struck so suddenly, she at first thought she was being assaulted.
“She’s skiing, enjoying herself,” Owens said. “Suddenly she sees two skis appear between her skis. And a man comes up right behind her.”
Owens said that right after the crash, Sanderson asked, “Who ran into who?” and then apologized to Paltrow after she said that he ran into her. Paltrow’s defense team said members of her group checked on Sanderson after the accident and he said he was okay and said the same thing to a ski patrol member who came to check on them. The actress’ attorneys said Paltrow only skied away after Sanderson said he was okay and after ski patrol left and that the retired optometrist only sought help after he waved away ski patrol.
Owens said Ramon’s account of the incident was “a whole different, crazy story.” Owens argued that Sanderson didn’t know that Paltrow was involved at the time since she was wearing a helmet and goggles. But later, when he discovered who she was, he emailed his daughters, saying, “I’m famous.”