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Gwyneth Paltrow ski collision trial brings doctors to stand

Attorneys said a radiologist, a neuropsychologist and retired optometrist Terry Sanderson's daughters would likely be called to testify on Wednesday.
Gwyneth Paltrow
Posted at 2:05 PM, Mar 22, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-22 14:05:29-04

Doctors and family members are expected to testify on Wednesday in a trial about a 2016 ski crash between Gwyneth Paltrow and a retired Utah man suing her and claiming her recklessness left him with lasting injuries and brain damage.

On the opening day of the trial, Paltrow and retired optometrist Terry Sanderson appeared across the courtroom from each other, looking nonplussed to hear arguments that have become familiar over the past seven years. Since Paltrow and Sanderson's skis intertwined on what they expected to be an enjoyable day on the slopes with friends and family, the two have been tangled in a lengthy legal drama about what really happened on a beginner's run that day at one of the most upscale ski destinations in the United States.

The mountain, Deer Valley Resort, has among the region's most expensive lift tickets and is known for its après-ski champagne yurts and proximity to Park City — a posh resort town known for hosting the Sundance Film Festival.

Though the court is not publishing a witness list, attorneys said a radiologist, a neuropsychologist, and Sanderson's daughters would likely be called to testify on Wednesday. The doctors are expected to discuss Sanderson's alleged post-crash trauma and medical woes. Sanderson's lawyers on Tuesday left the possibility open that they may call Paltrow to the stand depending on when others expected to testify arrive in Park City.

Gibby and Goldstein have previously appeared as expert witnesses for Sanderson, who has said he broke ribs and sustained brain damage from the crash. Attorneys have argued over whether Sanderson's medical problems stemmed from the crash or were merely a byproduct of aging.

Actor Gwyneth Paltrow looks on before leaving the courtroom, Tuesday, March 21, 2023, in Park City, Utah.

Gwyneth Paltrow's legal team pushes back on Utah ski accident claims

Actor Gwyneth Paltrow is in court in Park City, Utah -- she is accused in a lawsuit of crashing into another skier in 2016.

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Both parties blame the other for the collision and claim they were crashed into from behind, relying on a little-known Utah law stipulating that whoever is downhill has the right of way when skiing and snowboarding. Paltrow's attorneys have asked Judge Kent Holmberg to enact special restrictions throughout the actor-turned-wellness tycoon's trial, while she has used a blue notebook to shield her face from view when entering and exiting the courtroom.

They called Sanderson's story "utter B.S." building off earlier claims from court filings and previous depositions where they accused him of suing to exploit the Oscar-winning star of "Shakespeare in Love's" wealth and celebrity.

Sanderson's attorneys have attempted to paint her as a negligent celebrity with little care for the injuries inflicted upon the 76-year-old military veteran. They called Sanderson's ex-girlfriend and a ski companion who was nearby during the crash to testify on Tuesday. Karlene Davidson said the crash had "changed" Sanderson and contributed to the demise of their romance. Craig Ramon testified that Paltrow hit Sanderson. Despite that, he said afterward that one of her family's ski instructors came up to him and said "Your buddy just took out Gwyneth Paltrow."

The trial underway in Park City has begun with Sanderson's team's witnesses. Paltrow's attorneys have said that her witnesses, including her two children, will speak later. It is the latest development in the seven-year case and follows Sanderson's decision to amend an earlier lawsuit after a $3.1 million complaint that named Paltrow and Deer Valley was dismissed. Paltrow subsequently filed a counterclaim for $1 and attorney fees.