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Gwyneth Paltrow denied attorney fees in skiing accident lawsuit


SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Gwyneth Paltrow won’t get back the attorney fees she paid to successfully defend herself against a lawsuit from a 76-year-old retired optometrist who alleged she was guilty of crashing into him at a swanky Utah ski resort in 2016.

In a final verdict released Saturday, a Utah judge upheld the jury’s unanimous verdict finding Terry Sanderson – the man who clashed with Paltrow – to be “100% wrong”, and awarding Paltrow the $1 she sought in a countersuit, and leaving attorneys’ fees to the court’s Judge Kent Holmberg to decide.

The verdict said that Paltrow would not seek attorney’s fees and that Sanderson would not appeal the verdict, ending a protracted legal battle seven years after the two crashed during a novice run near the base of Deer Valley Resort in Utah.

Representatives for both Paltrow and Sanderson were not immediately available to answer questions about the final verdict or the money at stake. Neither side has publicly disclosed how much it costs to fight a years-long legal battle with a team of lawyers and expert witnesses from around the United States and, for Paltrow’s part, high-resolution animated recreations of her memories of the crash.

The eight-day trial of the ‘Shakespeare in Love’ and ‘Ironman’ star last month emerged as the most watched lawsuit against American celebrities since the showdown between actors Johnny Depp and Amber Heard last year. Sanderson’s lawsuit charged Paltrow with negligence and crashing into him from behind, then leaving the scene of the accident without making sure he was in good physical shape. He sought more than $300,000 in damages — a threshold in Utah civil court that allows parties to submit the most evidence and depose the longest list of witnesses.

Paltrow then filed a counterclaim for the token $1 and attorneys’ fees — alleging that Sanderson had hit her from behind and sued to exploit her fame and celebrity.

Under the light of live Court TV cameras and extensive scrutiny by fans and opponents, Paltrow sat intently in the Park City courtroom during the proceedings last month, testifying that initially when the crash happened she thought she was being ‘violated’.

Following the verdict, Sanderson’s lawyers said they were considering whether to appeal the case or request a new trial. Paltrow and her attorney said in separate statements that the countersuit has more to do with her principles than the dollar amount at stake.

“I felt that acquiescing to a false claim compromised my integrity,” said the founder-CEO of beauty and wellness brand Goop.

Joanna Swanson

Joanna Swanson is Europe correspondent at the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in Brussels covering politics, culture, business, climate change, society, economies and inclusive tech. With specific focus in breaking news, she has covered some of the world's most significant stories.