CRIME, POLICE + COURTS

Jury finds Paltrow not liable in ski collision trial

Mar 30, 2023, 2:30 PM | Updated: Mar 31, 2023, 12:25 pm

Gwyneth Paltrow...

Gwyneth Paltrow carries two beverages as she walks past Terry Sanderson, the man suing her, after testifying in court on Friday, March 24, 2023, in Park City, Utah. Sanderson accuses her of crashing into him on a beginner run at Deer Valley Resort, leaving him with brain damage and four broken ribs. (Rick Bowmer/AP)

(Rick Bowmer/AP)

PARK CITY, Utah — A Utah jury has found Gwyneth Paltrow not liable in a 2016 ski collision case.

Terry Sanderson, a retired optometrist, sued Paltrow, an Oscar-winning actor and the founder and CEO of Goop, 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 $1 in damages, plus attorneys’ fees in her counterclaim.

In closing arguments, Sanderson’s attorney, Robert Sykes, rejected claims that Sanderson is seeking fame and attention.

That day, he said, Sanderson “never came home the same.”

“Part of him will always be on that mountain,” he said. “We hope that you will help bring Terry home off that mountain with a fair verdict for today.”

Paltrow’s attorney, Steve 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.”

Key testimony

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 her.

“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.”

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Jury finds Paltrow not liable in ski collision trial