Actress Gwyneth Paltrow appeared in a Park City courtroom Tuesday as the 2016 Utah ski accident trial began.
Paltrow is accused of crashing into Terry Sanderson, causing several serious injuries and then abandoning him while they were both skiing at the starter course at the Deer Valley resort seven years ago.
The trial is live on YouTube.
Sanderson, a retired optometrist, filed the lawsuit in 2019, three years after the mountainside collision. He has since claimed that he suffered a traumatic brain injury, four broken ribs, and emotional damage as a result of the accident. Sanderson also stated that Paltrow left the scene without giving him her name, contact information or calling for help.
Lawrence Buehler, Sanderson’s attorney, began to make the case, stating, “Distracted skiers cause accidents. Defendant Gwyneth Paltrow knew it was dangerous to look up and away from a mountain while skiing down a mountain.”
Paltrow’s attorney, Stephen Owens, told jurors that Sanderson’s allegations that the actress ran down the mountain after crashing into him were completely fabricated.
“We think this is complete nonsense,” Owens said.
He also told jurors that the burden of proof in the case rested with Sanderson’s legal team, not the actress.
“You will regret [Sanderson] but that’s not why you’re here. You are here to find out if someone bumped into someone by negligence or if no one crashed, ”he said.
“Skiing comes with inherent risks,” he added.
According to KSL.com, Sanderson was seeking $3.1 million in damages in the original version of the lawsuit. But in May 2022, third circuit judge Kent Holmberg dismissed some of Sanderson’s claims against Paltrow, ruling that it was not a “hit-and-run skiing accident,” according to the news outlet. The 76-year-old man is now seeking $300,000 in damages.
Meanwhile, the Oscar-winning actress and entrepreneur filed her own counterclaim about a month after Sanderson in 2019. In it, she recounted the events of the day, blaming him for the accident. She described how he was climbing up the mountain from her and her family when he suddenly slammed into her back, delivering “a blow to her whole body”. According to Paltrow, she got mad at Sanderson and he apologized.
Each side wants the other to cover their legal costs. Paltrow is seeking $1 damages.
It’s unclear if Paltrow will testify, but her lawyer told jurors that some family members who were skiing with her during the incident would testify.