Gwyneth Paltrow Begins Testimony in Utah Skiing Accident Trial | Gwyneth Paltrow
Gwyneth Paltrow began giving evidence Friday afternoon in her trial on a 2016 ski collision at a Utah mountain resort, in which a man claims the movie star’s recklessness caused him lasting physical injuries, as she says the clash on the tracks was his responsibility.
The Oscar-winning actor took the stage around 5 p.m. ET to answer questions about his accident with Terry Sanderson, the retired optometrist who is suing her. Lawyers for Paltrow and Sanderson scramble to convince the 10-member jury which skier was positioned downhill and therefore had the right of way.
Paltrow, also a lifestyle influencer, appeared in court this week and counterattacked Sanderson. Sanderson’s daughter testified Friday just before Paltrow took the witness stand.
Mark Stephen Herath, the brother of Sanderson’s son-in-law, was first at the helm on Friday.
He spoke of the lingering effects on Sanderson of the ski incident at the resort in Park City, Utah, the mountain town where the Sundance Film Festival is also held.
He told the jury, of Sanderson: “His comprehension had gone downhill, he was getting confused… It was like night and day before and after the accident. I think he tried to ski several times, but I don’t think he’s been gone since the accident.
He called Sanderson’s condition “a stalemate” and added: “He wasn’t mentally ready to go skiing again.”
In a trial that judge Kent Holmberg and lawyers for both sides have agreed will last eight days, with each side having four days to call their own witnesses, Friday marks the last day Sanderson’s lawyers can compel Paltrow to testify.
In previous depositions in the never-ending case, she said she “froze” when the accident happened, while she was on a beginner’s slope with one of her children.
“We broke down together. This man was behind me on the mountain,” she said in November 2020. “My knee — and our skis were still kind of tangled up. Our bodies were almost spooned and I quickly pulled away. And my knee split open, and I was in shock.
Next week, Paltrow’s team is expected to call medical experts, ski instructors and her two children, Moses and Apple.
So far, the lawsuit has focused the spotlight on Park City and the Deer Valley station, where Paltrow and Sanderson collided. The resort is among the most upscale in North America, known for its sunny slopes, champagne après-ski yurts and luxury lodges.
The proceedings delved into the medical history and personality quirks of 76-year-old Sanderson, with lawyers questioning whether his deteriorated health and estranged relationships stemmed from the collision or the natural aging process.
The lawsuit touched on themes ranging from skier etiquette to the power — and burden — of fame.
Sanderson seeks “over $300,000” in damages, while Paltrow countersued for $1 and attorneys’ fees. The amount of money at stake for both parties is relatively small for such a case.
Paltrow’s lawyers spent much of Thursday raising questions about Sanderson’s mentions of his wealth and fame, as well as what they called his “obsession” with the lawsuit.