In a case that has captured global attention for her often hilarious testimony, a Utah jury has found Oscar-winning actress and Goop lifestyle brand creator Gwyneth Paltrow not guilty of injuring a skier who had claimed she skied into him from behind and severely injured him at Utah’s Deer Valley ski resort in February 2016.
Paltrow said that the plaintiff, retired 76-year-old optometrist Terry Sanderson, actually had skied into her during the incident on the beginner trail, arguing that he decided to sue her for $300,000 only after learning who she was.
During the nearly two-week-long civil trial, Paltrow’s legal team provided a slew of testimonials, as well as digitally created animations and testimony from her ski instructor, a longtime employee at Deer Valley, to support Paltrow’s argument. Paltrow appeared to be playfully leaning into her celebrity status as she picked apart her accuser. The judge denied a request by Sanderson’s attorneys to make Paltrow participate in their attempted re-enactment of events.
“Two skis came between my skis forcing my legs apart and then a body pressed against me.” – Gwyneth Paltrow, during her testimony on the ski accident
One of the more telling moments in the civil trial occurred when biomechanical engineer, Dr. Irving Scher, testified that it was Paltrow’s version of events that matched the laws of physics – not Sanderson’s.
Sanderson originally sued Paltrow, Deer Valley Resort and a ski instructor for $3.1 million, claiming he was the victim of a hit-and-run that left him with a “permanent brain injury, four broken ribs, pain, suffer, loss of enjoyment of life,” emotional distress and disfigurement. A judge dismissed that claim, which prompted Sanderson to remove Deer Valley and the instructor from the lawsuit and target only Paltrow.
Among Paltrow’s more hilarious observations: her deadpan comment when asked how the collision affected her, “well, I lost half a day of skiing,” describing her height as 5’10” “but shrinking,” and even leaning into her description of events when she says he skied into her – “I was YELLING at him.”
Paltrow, whose estimated worth is more than $250 million, won her countersuit seeking $1 in damages plus attorney’s fees. After the verdict, Paltrow put her hand on Sanderson’s shoulder and said “I wish you well.”