Ruling Slopes to Defendant

Skiing suit in actress’ favor

More than 20 years after accepting the Academy Award for her role in Shakespeare in Love, Gwyneth Paltrow has again fulfilled a role that resulted in a win.  In 2016, Paltrow was involved in a skiing accident, which allegedly caused another skier to experience the impact of a permanent traumatic brain injury.  Initially, the skier, who is identified as Terry Sanderson, filed a lawsuit for $3.1 million and named Paltrow, the ski resort, and a ski instructor as defendants.  According to his argument, Paltrow collided with Sanderson from behind and was the sole reason for his head wound. 

Following the filing, a judge ruled against Sanderson and dismissed the claim, relieving the ski resort and instructor as defendants.  At the time of the crash, the ski instructor was providing lessons to Paltrow’s son.  Sanderson continued his claim against Paltrow for $300,000; and the actress countersued for $1 million and attorney fees.  Despite Sanderson’s initial argument that Paltrow collided into him from behind, it was later determined that Sanderson was at fault for the accident and ran into the actress.  According to her testimony, Paltrow recollected that at the time of impact, she felt as though an individual was attempting to assault her.  She did not accuse Sanderson of exhibiting inappropriate behavior but rather recalled that being on the defense of a possible assault was her immediate reaction.

During the eight-day trial, both Paltrow and Sanderson took the stand, as well as Sanderson’s children, who expressed an apparent shift in their father’s personality.  Pain, suffering, and the loss of enjoyment of life accompanied Sanderson’s physical brain injury and four broken ribs.  During the course of the lawsuit, Paltrow challenged Sanderson’s account of the accident and addressed the issue that he admitted to not remembering the entirety of the events that took place on the slope.  Prior to the accident, Sanderson suffered a stroke, which might have contributed to the heightening of any cognitive impairments experienced after the skiing incident.