June 2, 2023

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Jury finds retired ophthalmologist at fault for bumping into Gwyneth Paltrow: NPR

Gwyneth Paltrow and her attorney Steve Owens smile after reading the verdict in her case Thursday in Park City, Utah.

Rick Bomer/AP

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Rick Bomer/AP

Gwyneth Paltrow and her attorney Steve Owens smile after reading the verdict in her case Thursday in Park City, Utah.

Rick Bomer/AP

Who jumped to whom?

After just over two hours of deliberation, a jury in Utah unanimously determined that it was Gwyneth Paltrow who was run over by retired ophthalmologist Terry Sanderson on the slopes of a Deer Valley resort more than seven years ago — not the other way around. .

The ruling is a blow to Sanderson, who sued Paltrow seeking $300,000 in damages for the injuries he sustained after they allegedly hit him. It’s vindication for the Oscar-winning actress, who sued Sanderson for $1 and legal fees, saying he was responsible for the 2016 skiing collision.

Sanderson, 76, hanged his head as Judge Kent Holmberg read the jury’s decision Thursday afternoon. Meanwhile, the 50-year-old actress remained somewhat expressionless, giving only an obscene nod and a small smile to her lawyer and the jury.

“I felt acquiescing to a false claim threatened my integrity,” Paltrow said in a statement through her attorney.

Paltrow added, “I am pleased with the outcome and appreciate all the hard work of Judge Holmberg and the jury, and I thank them for their thoughtfulness in handling this case.”

Over the course of the trial, the jury heard from experts in science and medicine, eyewitnesses — including written testimony from Paltrow’s children — and the famous actress herself.

Each legal team provided dueling versions of what happened on the mountain that day.

Sanderson’s lawyers argued that Paltrow was skiing recklessly down the mountain when she caught sight of him with a speed that sent him “flying” through the air. As a result, he said, he suffered four broken ribs and brain damage for life.

Last week he testified: “All I saw was a lot of snow. I didn’t see the sky, but I was flying.”

During closing arguments, his attorney, Robert Sykes, dismissed claims that Sanderson is seeking fame and attention.

“A part of Terry will forever remain at Bandara Race,” Sykes told the jury. Bring Terry home.

Lawrence Bowler, another attorney, told the jury to consider awarding his client $3.2 million in damages.

“When people know him, after a while, they don’t want to deal with him anymore,” Buehler said, adding that he has known Sanderson for six years.

Buehler suggested that Sanderson’s personality changed dramatically during that time and that it caused people to turn away from him. Buehler added, “Check everyone—your family, they’ll put up with you, maybe the lawyers. But, really, they’ll just put up with you.”

Meanwhile, Paltrow’s legal team has confirmed that she was the victim in both the incident at the ski resort and the subsequent years-long legal battle.

Paltrow testified that she was skating with her children when Sanderson hit her from behind. In the confusion and shock of the blow, she told the jury, she believed someone was trying to sexually assault her.

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She described his skis coming between her legs, pushing her legs apart, and that she heard a “faint noise” before they both landed on the ground.

Her attorney, Stephen Owens, also spent time questioning Sanderson about the severity of his injuries, and questioned him about the various trips and activities the retiree posted on social media after the so-called hit and run.

During closing arguments, he told jurors that Paltrow had decided to take a stand in fighting Sanderson’s case. Owens said it would have been “easy” for Paltrow to “write a check and get it done”, but that it would be a mistake.

He added, “It is really wrong that he hurt her and wants money from her.”

Now, obviously, she wouldn’t have to push it.