03/22/2023 By Peyton Benbow
Gwyneth Paltrow, 50, the Oscar-winning actress and CEO of Goop, began trial on Tuesday as she is accused of crashing into retired optometrist Terry Sanderson, 76, in a Utah ski accident. Paltrow’s attorney called Sanderon’s accusations “utter B.S.”
Both parties agree that on February 26, 2016, the two collided in a ski accident at Deer Valley, an upscale ski resort in Park City, Utah. They each have a different account of who is at fault.
In 2019, Sanderson filed an initial $3.1 million lawsuit against Paltrow, telling the court he had difficulties finding attorneys with basic functionality. The 76-year-old suffered four broken ribs and brain damage after the 2016 collision. He had claimed that Paltrow had “abandoned” him without giving any information; however, Third District Court Judge Kent Holmberg dismissed that claim in May 2022 by stating “this is not a hit & run ski crash.”
Paltrow’s attorney Steve Owens said that members of Paltrow’s group went to check on Sanderson, to which he assured them he was fine and that he had posted a smiling photo on a toboggan after the collision. Sanderson has since filed a $300k lawsuit against Paltrow for emotional distress and physical injuries. She filed a counterclaim last year for $1 million in attorney fees and damages.
On Tuesday, Sanderson’s attorneys played an account of events by Craig Ramon, Sanderson’s friend and ski companion who was with Sanderson then. Ramon testified that Sanderson was 35 feet away to the left of Paltrow, and he saw his ski tips fly up, putting Sanderson in a spread-eagle position: he saw Paltrow hit Sanderson and slide down the hill to the right.
Paltrow’s attorneys claim that Sanderson was uphill and crashed into Paltrow. Her counterclaim states that she “was enjoying skiing with her family on vacation in Utah when plaintiff—uphill from Ms. Paltrow—plowed into her back. She sustained a full ‘body blow.’”
Utah law declares that the most downhill skier has the right of way. Sanderson and Paltrow agree they collided; each argues that they are a victim and the other is at fault for skiing behind them. Both parties will call witnesses this week to testify about who was at fault and to pinpoint the cause of the collision. Sanderson’s attorneys are expected to call Paltrow’s children, Moses, 16, Apple, 18, who were with Paltrow during the incident, and medical professionals for his physical injuries. Earlier this week, they said they planned to call Paltrow to the stand on Friday, but it could be sooner.