Gwyneth Paltrow was ‘cool but genuine’ when she told Terry Sanderson ‘I wish you well’ after a jury rejected his $300,000 compensation bid, body language expert Judi James told MailOnline today.
Jurors found retired optometrist Sanderson, 76, was ‘100 per cent’ to blame for the 2016 crash at the upmarket Utah ski resort seven years ago. It took just two hours and 20 minutes for the jury to reach their verdict yesterday.
As Ms Paltrow left court she walked over and touched Sanderson’s shoulder and said ‘I wish you well’. He responded: ‘Thank you dear.’
While social media commentators branded the gesture ‘ice cold’, Ms James said she has identified several clues which suggest the actress was being genuine.
She told MailOnline: ‘Paltrow studies Sanderson’s face with her eyes as she leans over him, with an expression of concern. A sarcastic ritual might have produced an angry eye-stare or even caused her to be incongruent, touching his back but looking away at the same time. And her palm is held out in what looks like a gentle touch.
As Paltrow left court she touched Sanderson’s shoulder and said, ‘I wish you well,’ he told reporters outside the courthouse. He responded, ‘Thank you dear’
The actress sharing a moment with her lawyer after hearing she had won the case
A beaten Mr Sanderson looked dejected, with his shoulders hunched and head bowed
‘As she walks out her expressions doesn’t seem to change in a denial ritual that would have been like a knowing wink to the public.
‘Sanderson’s lowered head turns to the side but there is no visual response to suggest he feels her comment was staged rather than authentic.’
Ms James said Sanderson’s legal team looked ‘nonplussed’ by the gesture.
‘There seems to be no sign of any alertness of tension to suggest they had any worries this might have been a put-down or nasty aside from Paltrow,’ he continued.
‘Then there is Sanderson’s own re-telling of the moment. Speaking to the press outside he repeats Paltrow’s comment of ‘#I wish you well#’ in a pleasant, calm and kindly voice to suggest that was how it was delivered.
‘I’d say under the circumstances her comment was pretty elegant. If she had tried to inject more warmth or affection in there after everything she had sat through it would have looked like inauthentic overkill, so it was pitched about right, including the speed of the gesture.
‘Any implied coolness could have come from the words, which do have a slight aftertaste of suggesting permanent parting to inform him she had no expectation of seeing him again, which could in turn drop a hint that this verdict is the end of their encounter. It implies ”in the future” and therefore sounds like an emphatic sign-off.’
Ms Paltrow, the 50-year-old founder of the luxury wellness brand Goop, is worth $200million (£161million) and won an Oscar for her role in Shakespeare in Love.
Her adversary, Mr Sanderson, is a twice-divorced retired optometrist from Utah, whose net worth is unknown.
Sanderson must hand Ms Paltrow a symbolic $1 in damages – but must pay his and Gwyneth’s legal costs, which could run into hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The actress left court in Park City having told her opponent Terry Sanderson: ‘I wish you well’
Gwyneth Paltrow won her case against retired optometrist Terry Sanderson who claimed she caused a 2016 ski collision that left him with him lasting brain damage
The actress smiled and waved at photographers as she made her way out of court
Last night she looked nervous as the verdict was read out and sat with her hands together on her desk. When the clerk of the court declared that Mr Sanderson was to blame, she nodded in appreciation.
As the judge thanked the jury she nodded her head in appreciation at them again.
The decision came after eight days of live-streamed courtroom testimony that drew worldwide audiences and became a pop culture fixation.
The actress smiled and waved at photographers as she made her way out of court but refused to comment.
Paltrow’s attorney read a statement from the actress outside court.
Viewers scrutinized both Paltrow and Sanderson’s motives while attorneys directed questions to witnesses that often had less to do with the collision and more to do with their client’s reputations.
The trial took place in Park City, a resort town known for hosting the annual Sundance Film Festival, where early in her career Paltrow would appear for the premieres of her movies including 1998’s ‘Sliding Doors,’ at a time when she was known primarily as an actor, not a lifestyle influencer.
Speaking earlier in the trial, Judi James told MailOnline that Paltrow’s note taking and her decision to adopt a ‘superiority pose’ in which she raised her chin high and looked down her nose, meant she ‘often looked like a member of the legal team herself’.
Her body language fluctuated between ‘confidence splaying’ and more ‘vulnerable self-diminishing’ – before she eventually adopting a ‘Classic A-List’ pose where she appeared confident and in control.
While she was listening to the courtroom proceedings, Paltrow also adopted a ‘superiority pose where she raised her chin high, her eyebrows higher and looks down her nose while pursing her lips,’ James said.
‘Nodding gently with her team’s points to the judge and writing what looked like notes during the evidence, she often looked like a member of the legal team herself, especially when she wore or looked over her glasses.’
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