Gwyneth Paltrow was subject to a merit less claim for however much, and she defended it while bringing a symbolic counter claim for $1, which I understood that she won on that order.
This brings up a whole bunch of questions about the principles on which courts entertain or don’t entertain lawsuits, but the real question here is (in one way, why wasn’t it dealt with in any of a handful of seemingly more sensible ways, while in another) why was it accepted and heard in the way that it was?
On the one hand it seems as though $1 ought generally to be caught under de minimis, or be considered frivolous, if it really is a realistic appraisal of the impact that the civil wrong deemed to have been committed actually had. She said it cost her an entire afternoon of skiing with her family. So is $1 really a fair value for one afternoon of Gwyneth Paltrow skiing and enjoying time with her family? Surely it is worth more even if only on the basis of what she would have paid to the ski resort etc in order to facilitate that leisure activity. That’s not even touching the hedonic value of it which I imagine would apply even if it would have been an afternoon spent enjoying the free sunshine with her family in a public park. In any case, how often do courts hear claims for $10mm that succeed, but actually only for $6mm or $8mm, because that’s what the court feels the damages suffered were actually worth?
So why didn’t the court adjust the damages sought upward in this case, and if it had thought that $1 was actually an accurate assessment of the damages suffered, then why wasn’t the case thrown out as frivolous litigation or de minimis?
For Paltrow’s part it seems that the counterclaim was undertaken largely to prove a point, but do judicial service and courts exist for people to use in maintaining their pride or in making points? Is that what (part of) what courts are there for?