After winning her ski collision court case, Gwyneth Paltrow whispered four words to her accuser as she left the courtroom for the final time.
Paltrow was accused by retired optometrist Terry Sanderson of skiing into him, causing him severe injuries. He was seeking $300,000 in damages for the 2016 incident which occurred on the Deer Valley Resort in Park City, Utah. Paltrow countersued for $1 plus legal fees, claiming the accident was Sanderson’s fault.
On Thursday, March 30, the jury at the Third Judicial District Court in Park City absolved Paltrow of any blame for the accident which reportedly left Sanderson with broken ribs and a concussion.
After the nine-day trial, the jury needed a little more than two hours to deliberate on their decision, where they deemed that Sanderson was at fault for the accident.
After the verdict was announced by the jury, Paltrow made her way out of the courtroom, but she could be seen leaning over to her accuser and whispered something to him.
Later, 76-year-old Sanderson told reporters what she said to him in that moment.
“I wish you well,” were the words Paltrow said to Sanderson, according to him. He replied, “thank you dear,” showing there were no hard feelings. Their exchange couldn’t be heard on any microphones in the courtroom, with only Sanderson confirming the details of their exchange.
Paltrow released an online statement after the verdict was given. Writing to her 8.3 million Instagram followers on her stories, the Oscar-winner wrote the following: “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.”
Sanderson spoke to the media outside of the Park City courtroom where he called the verdict “very disappointing.” He was also asked whether or not he thought the trial was worth it. “Absolutely not,” he said. “I’m going to be on the internet forever.”
Los Angeles entertainment attorney Tre Lovell believes Paltrow also improved her own public image on her way to victory in this case.
“Paltrow’s decision to countersue for only $1 provided a good example of how to use positive branding alongside litigation. And overall, she walks away from this trial with her image more than intact. It’s actually been enhanced because of how she handled herself with poise,” Lovell told Newsweek. “Paltrow’s charm and personal magnetism didn’t hurt either.”
While the trial lasted just nine days, there were plenty of viral moments included which got people talking across social media.
The first day Paltrow took the stand, she was questioned by Sanderson’s attorney Kristin VanOrman, but people noted how chummy the pair seemed. In isolated clips, the internet marveled as Paltrow was asked questions about her height, whether she was a good tipper, and if she was good friends with Taylor Swift.
Both legal teams for the plaintiff (Sanderson) and the defendant (Paltrow) were criticized for various mistakes by legal experts, with personal injury lawyer Sherif Edmond El Dabe telling Newsweek both sides were guilty of “embarrassing mistakes.”
“The attorneys for both sides are not coming off as well [as Paltrow]. They seem to be wilting under the glare of the media attention on this case and they’ve made some embarrassing mistakes,” the partner at Los Angeles-based El Dabe Ritter Trial Lawyers told Newsweek.
Newsweek has reached out to Paltrow’s representatives for further comment.
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