It might be just a skiing accident, but the legal fight between A-lister Gwyneth Paltrow and Terry Sanderson, a 76-year-old retired optometrist, somehow captured the attention of the world.
Sanderson sued Paltrow, alleging her recklessness caused the crash on the slopes and left him with four broken ribs and post-concussion symptoms including confusion, memory loss and irritability. Paltrow countersued for a symbolic $1 and attorney fees, alleging Sanderson veered into her from behind.
Here are some of the key moments and issues from the trial.
Losing a day of skiing
Asked to assess how she had suffered as a result of the 2016 crash at issue, Paltrow testified, “Well, we lost half a day of skiing.”
The moment, widely mocked on social media, was not helped when the court heard that the cost of a full day was $8,800. Paltrow said that rather than return to the slopes, she scheduled a massage. In contrast, Terry Sanderson claimed the crash left him with “permanent traumatic brain injury, four broken ribs, pain, suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, emotional distress and disfigurement”.
The collision – and Paltrow’s fears of a sex attack
Sanderson claimed he was skiing down the right side of the run when he heard “a blood-curdling scream … like somebody was out of control and going to hit a tree and was going to die”. He said he felt someone crash into his back and send him “absolutely flying”. He added: “All I saw was a whole lot of snow … I just said, ‘OK, you got to protect your face and your head’, and that’s the last thing I remember.”
Paltrow testified that Sanderson’s “body pressed into my back so I froze. There was a body pressing against me and there was a very strange, grunting noise”. She added: “I thought, is this a practical joke? Is someone doing something perverted? This is very strange.”
Paltrow’s fashion choices trigger global headlines
One clear winner from the trial was Paltrow’s distinctive 70s-vibe gold shades, described as being “popular with stylish older women looking to project a tough but cool look”. But some consider the choice nerdy – or worse.
“Gwyneth Paltrow looks like she’s on trial in 1987 for hiring a hitman to kill her husband,” read one widely circulated tweet. Others said Paltrow came to court “wearing the most ‘I’m an evil rich c-word’ glasses you’re going to see” and “Jeffrey Dahmer meets Gwyneth Paltrow”.
Utah skiers – a glimpse of an elite world
In ultra-conservative Utah, with small pockets of liberal winter ski wealth, many residents wondered what it is they have been looking at as the trial played out and the world’s media descended on Park City’s court. “This case is whiter than Mitt Romney at a mayo convention in Utah during a snowstorm,” one tweet said in response to testimony that Sanderson’s injuries now prevented him from enjoying wine tasting.
Paltrow offers treats
Paltrow’s attorneys asked if they could bring “treats” to reward court bailiffs after the judge said court staff would help the actor make a smooth, paparazzi-free transition from her car to the courtroom. Sanderson’s attorneys objected. “OK, there’s an objection so thank you, but no thank you,” Holmberg said.
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