A jury found Gwyneth Paltrow not liable over a crash with another skier on a Utah slope in 2016.
The verdict came after more than a week of testimony that explored the roles of skiing etiquette, medical history and celebrity culture in the case. Ms. Paltrow, whose testimony generated memes and steady debate among livestream viewers throughout the trial, appeared in court every day. She was seeking $1 and legal fees in her countersuit.
The other skier, Terry Sanderson, 76, a retired optometrist, sued Ms. Paltrow, 50, accusing her of skiing “out of control” during a run on a beginner’s slope at the Deer Valley Resort in Park City, according to court documents, claiming that her impact caused a traumatic brain injury and four broken ribs, among other serious injuries.
Mr. Sanderson testified that he heard a “bloodcurdling scream” just before a “serious, serious smack” sent him “absolutely flying.” His concussion, he said, had caused his personality to change and turned him into a “self-imposed recluse” who got confused and felt unsafe. His lawyers argued that Ms. Paltrow was involved in a hit-and-run, denied the crash and then tried to cover it up.
But Ms. Paltrow, who countersued, denied the claims, and said that Mr. Sanderson skied into her back, sending his skis between hers. The hit, she said, made her briefly think that the collision could have been anything from an intentional assault to “something perverted” to a practical joke. Ms. Paltrow accused Mr. Sanderson of using her fame to try to get her to “pay him millions,” according to court documents.
Mr. Sanderson’s lawyers called his friends, who were with him on the day of the crash; his daughters, who testified about his changed personality after the incident; and his doctors, including Dr. Alina Fong, a concussion specialist, who said Mr. Sanderson was still recovering from his brain injury.
“I gathered as much information from him as I did with all of my other patients; I’m not going to treat him specially just because he has an attorney,” she said in a recorded deposition presented on Thursday. “He came to me with his problems. I treated him with these problems and he did get better in a lot areas, but he’s still struggling, and that’s what the focus needs to be.”
Ms. Paltrow’s lawyers relied heavily on expert witnesses, including a collision expert, a biomedical engineer, doctors and a ski instructor, and questioned whether Mr. Sanderson’s injuries were the result of the crash or whether they predated the accident or were attributable to aging.
Her lawyers used large display boards to show evidence, and played an animated re-enactment of the accident, a move Sanderson’s lawyer argued had misled the jury. One expert drew stick figures on a whiteboard to show the physics of the crash.
Judge Kent R. Holmberg limited testimony to eight days, over which nearly two dozen witnesses testified or had their depositions read into the record.
Mr. Sanderson’s lawyers initially planned to call Ms. Paltrow’s children, Moses Martin, 16, and Apple Martin, 18, to testify. Instead, their testimony was read into the record.
Moses, who was 9 at the time, said he had been skiing with an instructor when he “briefly” saw the collision and skied over to find his “mother and a person behind her” on the ground. Mr. Martin said that he heard Ms. Paltrow “yelling at the guy, along the lines of, what the F-word, you just ran into me.”
Apple, who was 11, said she learned about the crash at lunch right afterward. She said her mother looked “a bit in shock” and that Ms. Paltrow had said Mr. Sanderson “ran into her back and they both went down.”
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