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Over the last two weeks, actress and businesswoman Gwyneth Paltrow has been on trial for allegedly causing a ski crash that led to chronic pain and brain damage for the victim. Did Paltrow actually cause the crash? And what happened during the trial? Read on below to find out.
Why exactly was Paltrow on trial?
On February 26, 2016, retired optometrist Terry Sanderson was skiing at Deer Valley Resort in Park City when he claims he was hit from behind by Paltrow while skiing downhill. Sanderson said that he suffered four broken ribs, a broken nose, and other injuries that have left him with chronic pain and neurological damage.
The trial began on Tuesday, March 21, and lasted two weeks. The trial was live-streamed and quickly became a media sensation with fans obsessing over Paltrow’s outfits. Terry Sanderson was suing Paltrow for $300,000, a decreased claim after originally asking for $3.1 million when he filed his first lawsuit against her in 2019. The original suit was dismissed, and this time Paltrow in turn filed a countersuit for the amusing amount of $1.
During the trial, Paltrow’s team claimed that Sanderson’s lawsuit was nothing more than an attempt to unfairly use Paltrow’s celebrity status to squeeze money out of her. Paltrow denied the allegations and her legal team argued that Sanderson caused the crash by cutting her off and skiing too close to her. In her counterclaim against Sanderson, Paltrow accused him of trying to exploit her celebrity status and seeking to profit from his injuries.
At the end of the day, Gwyneth Paltrow was quickly found not guilty of the charges. The jury was easily convinced of Paltrow’s side of the case, and one juror apparently stated that it took them less than 20 minutes to determine that she was clearly not at fault. Sanderson and Paltrow did crash while skiing that day and he suffered several broken ribs and a concussion, but according to her and the jury, it was actually Sanderson who caused the accident.
In addition to ruling Paltrow not guilty, the jury also upheld her counterclaim that Sanderson only sued her to exploit her wealth and fame for his benefit. The jury has awarded Paltrow a settlement of $1, which serves mostly to prove her point about the problem with suing celebrities or wealthy people to use their fame against them.
After the verdict was announced, Paltrow released a statement saying she hoped the outcome would send a clear message to those who would seek to exploit the court system to profit from false claims. She also thanked her legal team for their hard work and dedication throughout the trial. Paltrow did receive minor injuries from the accident caused by Sanderson, but she has said that these weren’t long-lasting and her $1 countersuit was purely for “symbolic damages.”
Sanderson’s attorney said they were disappointed with the verdict but respected the jury’s decision. They also thanked their client for his courage in coming forward with his story.