Gwyneth Paltrow and the man who broke four ribs after the two collided at a Utah ski resort seven years ago are both expected to testify Friday in a trial over his claims that the movie star's recklessness caused his concussion and lasting physical injuries.
Paltrow and Terry Sanderson, the retired optometrist suing her, are expected to answer questions about the crash as their attorneys jostle to convince the 10-member jury who was responsible for the collision and who had the right of way as the skier farther downhill. Paltrow claims Sanderson was responsible for the crash.
In a trial Judge Kent Holmberg and attorneys for both parties have agreed will last eight days, with each side getting four to call witnesses, Friday marks the final day that Sanderson's attorneys can compel Paltrow to testify. Next week, Paltrow's team is expected to call medical experts, ski instrutors and her two children, Moses and Apple.
The trial thus far has shone a spotlight on Park City, Utah — the posh ski town known for rolling out a red carpet for celebrities each January for the Sundance Film Festival — and Deer Valley Resort, where Paltrow and Sanderson were skiing on a Friday in February seven years ago. The resort is among the most upscale in North America, known for sunny slopes, après-ski champagne yurts and high-amenity lodges.
The proceedings have delved deep into the 76-year-old Sanderson's medical history and personality quirks, with attorneys questioning whether his deteriorating health and estranged relationships stemmed from the collision or more innate phenomenon, like aging or anger problems.
The trial has touched on themes ranging from skier’s etiquette to the power — and burden — of celebrity. The amount of money at stake for both sides pales in comparison to the typical legal costs of a multiyear lawsuit, private security detail and expert witness-heavy trial.
Sanderson claims Paltrow recklessly crashed into him while the two were skiing on a beginner run at Deer Valley Resort, breaking his ribs and causing a concussion. He is seeking “more than $300,000.” Paltrow has countersued for $1 and attorney fees.
Lawyers for Paltrow, an actor-turned-lifestyle influencer, spent much of Thursday raising questions about Sanderson's mentions of her wealth and celebrity as well as his “obsession” with the lawsuit.
The first three days of the trial through Thursday featured testimony from medical experts, Sanderson's personal doctor, a ski companion and his daughter, who said she noticed post-concussion symptoms less than a year after the accident and realized something had gone terribly wrong.
Paltrow's attorneys have cast doubt on Sanderson's medical experts and asked about whether his prior remarks suggest the lawsuit could be an attempt to exploit her fame and celebrity. Her lawyers Thursday asked Sanderson's daughter whether her father thought it was “cool” to collide with a celebrity like Paltrow, the Oscar-winning star of “Shakespeare in Love” and founder-CEO of lifestyle brand, Goop.