Gwyneth Paltrow has won her ski crash case and has been awarded the $1 (about R18) she wanted in compensation.
The Oscar-winner, 50, who has a net worth of about $200-million, counter-sued retired army optometrist Dr Terry Sanderson, 76, for the “symbolic” amount after he sparked their two-week court case by suing her for $300 000 over their 2016 collision on slopes at the Deer Park Resort, Utah, where the actress was holidaying with her family.
An eight-member jury ruled at Park City Court in Utah on Thursday, after a deliberation of only 2 hours, 20 minutes, Dr Sanderson – who claimed the accident left him with permanent brain damage – was responsible for the accident.
Dr Sanderson first filed for damages in January 2019 and was initially seeking $3.1 million before a judge slashed it to $300 000 in compensation for the injuries he allegedly sustained.
He had claimed during the case, which started on March 24, and saw eight days of fiery – and sometimes bizarre – testimony he was left suffering “permanent traumatic brain injury, four broken ribs, pain, suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, emotional distress and disfigurement”.
The former medic told the court: “I just remember everything was great and then I heard something I’ve never heard at a ski resort, and that was a blood-curling scream.
“And then, boom, it was like somebody was out of control and going to hit a tree and was going to die. That’s what I (recalled) until I was hit.
“I got hit in my back so hard … right at my shoulder-blades, and the fists and the poles were right there at the bottom of my shoulder-blades, serious, serious smack… never been hit that hard.”
Paltrow blamed Dr Sanderson for the crash and denied she had turned and skied away from the scene, with her team saying her ski instructor was on the scene and assisted the former doctor.
The actress was seen smiling after hearing the news of her victory, while Sanderson shook his head in defeat.
Paltrow’s behaviour during the trial has made constant headlines.
It included the actress offering to bring in “treats” for bailiffs to thank them for their work – which the judge politely rejected.
She also now infamously told the court about the impact on her life of the crash: “Well, I lost half a day of skiing.”
Paltrow admitted she yelled at Dr Sanderson he had skied into her “f****** back” and claimed she initially thought the crash was part of a “perverted” sexual assault as she heard “strange grunting” and was left with her legs spread.
When asked in court if her counter-suit for a token $1 was inspired by Taylor Swift – who counter-sued a radio DJ David Mueller for the same amount in 2017 – mum-of-two Paltrow, who also wanted her legal fees covered as part of her counter-suit against Dr Sanderson, downplayed her friendship with the “Shake it Off” singer.
She said: “I would not say we’re good friends. We are friendly. I’ve taken my kids to one of her concerts before, but we don’t talk very often.”