During trial, Gwyneth Paltrow’s lawyer calls the Utah ski collision story utter BS
On Tuesday (Mar 21), Paltrow’s lawyer called the story of a retired optometrist suing her over a ski collision “utter BS” during the trial’s opening day in Utah, where the actor-turned-lifestyle influencer looked somber in court.
Paltrow and Terry Sanderson, the man suing her, faced off in a Park City courtroom as attorneys presented their opening arguments. Each of them portrayed their client as an aggrieved party and put the blame for the collision on the other. Their expressions remained indifferent even as attorneys challenged their statements during the first day of the trial that is set to take eight days. Sanderson’s attorneys expect Paltrow will be testifying Friday at the latest, but they could summon her earlier in case other witnesses are not available.
Her blue “GP”-initiated notebook shielded her face from photographers as she entered and exited the courtroom in a cream-coloured knit sweater, tweed harem pants, and aviator-style reading glasses. Before witnesses began testifying, Sanderson left halfway through the hearing in a grey suit.
By highlighting Sanderson’s military service record, Buhler attempted to appeal to the jury’s sympathies – describing the broken ribs and brain trauma he sustained during and after the crash. To draw a contrast, Buhler described Paltrow as a wealthy, experienced skier who viewed the collision at Deer Valley, one of the country’s most upscale ski resorts, with a “So what?” attitude.
“She hires multiple ski instructors for her children, so they can skip the lines. Private instructors cost thousands of dollars a day,” he said.
Every year, celebrities flock to Park City to attend the Sundance Film Festival, held in the Rocky Mountains.
Both Paltrow and Sanderson agree that they collided on a beginner’s run seven years ago, yet each accuses the other of being at fault and skiing up behind them.
A lawsuit filed by Sanderson against Paltrow is seeking US$300,000 (S$401,000) for injuries and emotional distress he sustained as a result of the accident in Park City. According to Sanderson’s attorneys, he went to the emergency room and urgent care after the collision.
A central question in this case is who was farther downhill when the collision occurred. Both Paltrow and Sanderson claim they were farther downhill at the time.
Neither side is presenting their clients as conservative skiers who were struck by a skier above them.
According to Paltrow’s attorneys, Sanderson struck her – a collision they called a “full body blow”. According to attorney Steve Owens, members of Paltrow’s group checked on Sanderson, and he assured them he was fine – a meeting Sanderson does not deny, but he said in court that he has no memory of.
Paltrow’s attorney warned jurors not to let sympathy for Sanderson’s medical ailments skewed their judgements. He questioned the 76-year-old’s credibility, noting his age and documented, pre-collision brain injuries. After the crash, he said the Utah man had confirmed he was fine. Also, Owens reported Sanderson posted a photo of himself tobogganing down after the crash on social media.
“His memory of the case improves over time. That’s all I’m gonna say. That’s not how memory works,” Owens said.
During Tuesday’s hearing, two witnesses testified – Craig Ramon, Sanderson’s friend and ski companion, and Karlene Davidson, a woman Sanderson was dating in February 2016.