By SAM METZ
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Gwyneth Paltrow will not recoup the attorneys’ fees she paid to successfully defend herself against a lawsuit from a 76-year-old retired optometrist who claimed she was at fault for crashing into him at a posh Utah ski resort in 2016.
In a final judgment published on Saturday, a Utah judge affirmed the jury’s unanimous verdict finding Terry Sanderson — the man who collided with Paltrow — to be “100% at fault,” awarding Paltrow the $1 she sought in a countersuit, and leaving attorneys’ fees for District Court Judge Kent Holmberg to decide.
The judgment said Paltrow would not seek attorneys’ fees and Sanderson would not appeal the verdict, effectively ending a protracted legal battle seven years after the two crashed on a beginner 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 judgment or the money at stake. Neither side has publicly disclosed how much it cost to sustain a yearslong legal battle with a team of attorneys, expert witnesses from around the United States and, for Paltrow’s side, high-resolution animated recreations of her recollections of the crash.
The “Shakespeare in Love” and “Ironman” star’s eight-day court battle last month emerged as the most closely watched American celebrity trial since actors Johnny Depp and Amber Heard faced off last year. Sanderson’s lawsuit accused Paltrow of negligence and crashing into him from behind, and then leaving the scene of the accident without ensuring he was in good physical condition. He sought more than $300,000 in damages — a threshold in Utah civil court that allows parties to introduce the most evidence and depose the longest list of witnesses.
Paltrow subsequently countersued for the symbolic $1 and attorneys’ fees — claiming Sanderson had crashed into her from behind and was suing to exploit her fame and celebrity.
Under the glare of live Court TV cameras and extensive scrutiny from fans and detractors, Paltrow sat intently in the Park City courtroom throughout the proceedings last month, at and testified that at first, when the crash happened, she thought she was being “violated.”
After the verdict, Sanderson’s attorneys said they were weighing whether to appeal the case or to file for a new trial. Paltrow and her attorney said in separate statements that the countersuit more to do with her principles than the dollar amount at stake.
“I felt that acquiescing to a false claim compromised my integrity,” the founder-CEO of the beauty and wellness brand Goop said.