The trial over a lawsuit between Gwyneth Paltrow and Terry Sanderson came to an end Thursday after eight days of back-and-forth allegations of negligence stemming from a ski collision that occurred in 2016.
Speaking to the jurors and an audience watching across the nation, lawyers for both parties presented their closing arguments on Thursday. The jury is now deliberating.
Both sides claimed that the other was responsible for the ski collision. Sanderson had initially sued Paltrow for $3 million, which was then reduced to more than $300,000 after he said she crashed into him while not paying attention to her surroundings at Deer Valley Resort in Utah.
Robert Sykes, Sanderson’s attorney, said the most important piece of evidence to prove that Paltrow rammed into his client were his injuries, which included four broken ribs and loss of consciousness.
Sanderson’s attorney said his client spent hours and hours trying to get better, and that the permanent brain injury resulted in a “sudden and precipitous” change in him that strained his relationships.
“That day, Terry left his home and went skiing at Deer Valley,” Sykes said. “He anticipated, like many days of his life, a fun day of skiing. And he never returned home as the same Terry. He never came home, figuratively speaking.”
Lawrence Buhler, one of Sanderson’s attorneys, suggested the jury award him $3,276,000 in damages. Buhler made the calculation based on every day of cognitive decline Sanderson has experienced over the last seven years and will continue to experience for the rest of his life.
“I’m going to suggest a number, you put in the number you think is fair for Terry. The full value of the harm and losses that he’s dealing with every day. I’m going to say $33,” Buhler said.
Paltrow has said Sanderson was actually the one who crashed into her, which left her with minor injuries. She has countersued, seeking only $1 and her legal expenses covered.
In their closing argument on Thursday, Paltrow's attorneys accused Sanderson of suing the actor to exploit her fame and wealth.
“He hit her, he hurt her, and then he asked her for $3 million for the pleasure, and that is not fair,” Paltrow’s attorney Steve Owens said.
“You don’t throw a $3 million bombshell into the courtroom, call her King Kong, and just walk away,” Owens continued.
James Egan, another one of Paltrow’s attorneys, said that Sanderson is exaggerating his symptoms, and that the medical experts who testified on his behalf did not carefully review his medical history.
“Mr. Sanderson is better than he realizes he is, and it's hard for him to accept some of the decline he’s experienced, ” Egan said.
He argued that Sanderson's injuries and symptoms were present before the accident.
“The slow degeneration of bodies is hard to accept and mental health challenges are hard to face. It is obviously human to want a concrete explanation for these difficulties, but as the court instructed you, Mr. Sanderson should not receive the money he asked for if you find that his perceptions do not match reality,” Egan said.