Following Gwyneth Paltrow’s victory in her ski crash trial, her accuser Terry Sanderson may need to shell out as much as $1 million to pay her attorneys’ fees, according to experts.
Gwyneth Paltrow's Accuser, Terry Sanderson, May Face A Whopping Legal Bill
Sanderson, a 76-year-old retired optometrist, accused the Oscar-winning actress of crashing into him during a ski trip at Deer Valley Resort in Utah back in 2016.
He said he sustained broken ribs and a brain injury because of the crash and sued Paltrow for $300,000. However, she denied the accusation and countersued for a symbolic $1 plus legal fees.
On Thursday, an eight-person jury sided with the 50-year-old actress and found Sanderson to be 100 percent at fault in the ski collision. They awarded her $1 in damages along with attorneys’ fees.
How Much Are Those Fees?
Now, lawyers familiar with the process are sharing their opinions on how much those legal fees may be.
An Expert Opinion
The New York Post talked to David Cutt, a personal injury lawyer based in Salt Lake City, Utah, who factored in the length of time the lawsuit has been going on.
It's Been Going On For Years
“This case has been going on for four or five years and has been very heavily litigated and then goes through an eight-day jury trial,” he said.
How Much He Thinks The Fees Are
“[H]er fees are going to be in the $800,000 to a million range,” he concluded.
Paltrow Hired A Top-Notch (And Expensive) Team
Aside from the length of time her lawyers have been working on the case, Paltrow likely hired a top-notch legal team, which doesn’t come cheap.
How Much Do Lawyers Charge Per Hour?
Ted Spaulding, a Georgia-based personal injury lawyer, said that the rates of partners at law firms could range from $400 to as much as $600 or $700 an hour.
'The Best She Could Get'
“She can obviously afford that. She probably got the best she could get and she probably litigated the heck out of it,” he added.
A More Conservative Estimate
However, Spaulding’s estimate of her legal fees was more conservative at under $500,000 than Cutt’s $800,000 to a million.
Who Heads Paltrow's Legal Team?
For the case, the Shakespeare in Love star enlisted Stephen Owens, a Utah-based lawyer who’s the President of the Epperson & Owens firm. He was also a past President of the Utah State Bar.
The Judge Will Determine Attorneys' Fees
Now that Paltrow has won the trial, the judge will decide next how much Sanderson needs to pay in attorneys’ fees.
What's Next For Her Lawyers?
To do that, her legal team has to submit a log of “every task” with “minutes or hours attached to it” – an undertaking that could last months.
Sanderson Might Dispute It
The experts also said that it’s likely Sanderson’s team will dispute the amount and ask that it be reduced.
How He Will Pay
As for how the optometrist will be able to pay what he owes, Cutt said that his homeowners insurance will likely cover part of it.
The Rest Is 'His Personal Responsibility'
“The judgment against him is almost certainly going to exceed that,” he explained. “So unless he has a million dollars in homeowners insurance, there might be a substantial amount of this judgment left that will be his personal responsibility.”
'No Decisions' On The Amount Yet, Rep Says
According to Paltrow’s rep, “no decisions have been made” yet regarding the amount the actress is seeking in attorneys’ fees.
No Word From Sanderson's Lawyers
The New York Post reached out to Sanderson’s lawyers for a comment, but they have not responded yet.