Gwyneth Paltrow Found Not Liable in Ski Crash Trial, Awarded Symbolic $1

The case of Dr. Terry Sanderson, who claimed the Oscar-winning actress hit him in a reckless 2016 skiing incident, has concluded after eight days of testimony.
Gwyneth Paltrow in Park City, Utah during closing arguments in Sanderson v. Paltrow
Gwyneth Paltrow in Park City, Utah during closing arguments in Sanderson v. Paltrow
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Gwyneth Paltrow is not liable for the injuries incurred by a man involved in a 2016 ski crash, Utah courts decided Thursday.

Following eight days of contentious testimony and a short deliberation, the case of Dr. Terry Sanderson — a retired optometrist who sued the actress for more than $3 million in 2019 before the amount was later reduced to $300,000 — was dismissed. Sanderson alleged Paltrow was skiing recklessly and crashed into him on the slopes of Utah’s Deer Valley Resort, resulting in a traumatic brain injury and other ongoing health issues.

“We are pleased with this unanimous outcome and appreciate the judge and jury’s thoughtful handling of the case,” said Paltrow’s attorney Steve Owens in a statement to press. “Gwyneth has a history of advocating for what she believes in – this situation was no different and she will continue to stand up for what is right.”

In another statement to press, Paltrow said, “I felt that acquiescing to a false claim compromised my integrity. I am pleased with the outcome and I appreciate all of the hard work of Judge Holmberg and the jury, and thank them for their thoughtfulness in handling this case.”

The jury awarded Paltrow $1 (plus legal fees): a symbolic amount reaffirming the Oscar winner‘s account of events.

“I was hit by Mr. Sanderson and he was at fault,” Paltrow said during proceedings. “I feel very sorry for him. It seems like he’s had a difficult life. But I did not cause the accident so I cannot be at fault for anything that subsequently happened to him.”

Paltrow, who was with her children and an instructor on the beginner-level slope, asserted that Sanderson was further up the mountain from them and crashed into her. On the stand, Paltrow said she initially thought the collision could have been an attempted sexual assault.

“That was a quick thought that went through my head when I was trying to reconcile what was happening,” Paltrow said. “I was skiing and two skis came between my skis, forcing my legs apart. And then there was a body pressing against me and there was a very strange grunting noise. So my brain was trying to make sense of what was happening.”

Paltrow testified that she froze during the initial collision, but upon recovery asked Sanderson — who was still on the ground — what he was doing. Paltrow says she asserted to Sanderson in the moment, “You skied directly into my fucking back.”

Sanderson’s legal team characterized the events as a “hit and run,” saying Paltrow was further up the mountain from him and moving at an excessive speed.

“I was seriously injured and I had so many insults added to that,” Sanderson said on the stand Wednesday. “This is obviously an issue that somebody needs to be held accountable for. If they’re not held accountable, they’re going to do it again.”

“We asked you for a dollar,” Owens said during closing arguments. To make her case from the symbolic $1, Paltrow pointed out the expense of the resort, which cost her more than $9,000.

He continued, “Not because she had to [stop skiing], but because it screwed up a very carefully planned, important time in her life… We want our dollar.”

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