As a costly seven-day trial comes to an end and a jury sides with Gwyneth Paltrow, the biggest winners are her and Terry Sanderson’s lawyers.
After the verdict was read out in court, Sanderson was questioned by reporters waiting outside. One asked if this trial had been “worth it”, to which Mr Sanderson replied “absolutely not”.
And no wonder. Even though Paltrow asked for only $1 in damages, Sanderson also has to pay the Oscar winner’s legal fees, as well as his own.
The exact amount hasn’t been made public but it won’t be cheap. It’s not just the seven-day trial, Mr Sanderson will also foot the bill for all the work the legal teams did in preparation for this blockbuster trial.
Paltrow’s team, particularly, was expensive and had clearly put the hours in, with a slick video re-enactment of the accident on the slopes that helped convince the jury that she was not at fault. Their bill alone could run to hundreds of thousands of pounds.
It’s not just the financial cost for Mr Sanderson. The retired optometrist has had his reputation dragged through the mud, even by his own family. Two of his daughters – Polly and Shea – took the stand and testified about their dad’s angry outbursts.
But it was the written testimony of a third daughter, Jenny, which was the hardest to listen to.
She claimed she did not feel loved or “nurtured” by her father and said he was “verbally abusive” towards her and her mother – who the court heard was having an affair.
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Even before the losing verdict, it was hard to imagine that exposing your family to this public scrutiny could be worth a potential $300,000 (around £240,000) payout.
Paltrow’s defence also managed to portray Mr Sanderson as being fame-obsessed and hungry for attention. They dug out social media posts showing him galivanting around the world in the years after the accident, despite him saying he was a different and damaged man because of the crash.
Leaving court after the verdict, Paltrow approached Mr Sanderson, bent down and whispered in his ear: “I wish you well.”
It was difficult to see if she had gritted teeth but Mr Sanderson responded: “Thank you, dear.”
It seemed, at least, a cordial end to a seven-year-long legal tussle in and out of court.