PARK CITY, Utah (AP) – More witnesses are expected to testify Wednesday in a trial over a 2016 ski accident between Gwyneth Paltrow and the retired Utah man who sued her and claiming her recklessness left him with permanent injuries and brain damage.
On the opening day of the trial, Paltrow and retired optometrist Terry Sanderson appeared from across the courtroom, looking puzzled as they heard arguments that have become familiar over the past seven years of legal proceedings. Since Paltrow and Sanderson’s skis became entangled in what they expected to be a leisurely day on the slopes with friends and family, the two have been embroiled in lengthy legal drama over what really happened during a beginner’s run that day in one of the most exclusive ski destinations in the United States.
The mountain, Deer Valley Resort, has among the most expensive lift passes in the region and is known for its après-ski champagne yurts and proximity to Park City, an elegant resort town known for hosting the Sundance Film Festival.
Although the court is not releasing a list of witnesses, attorneys said Wendell Gibby and Sam Goldstein, a radiologist and neuropsychologist, will likely be called to testify Wednesday. Sanderson’s attorneys said they expected to call four witnesses total Wednesday and left open the possibility that one could be Paltrow, depending on when others expected to testify in Park City.
Gibby and Goldstein earlier appeared as expert witnesses for Sanderson, who said he had broken ribs and suffered brain damage from the crash. So far, attorneys have debated whether Sanderson’s medical issues stemmed from the accident or were simply a byproduct of aging.
Both sides blame the other for the collision and claim they were run over from behind, relying on a little-known Utah law that states that anyone downhill has the right of way when skiing and snowboarding. Paltrow’s attorney asked Judge Kent Holmberg to issue special restrictions during the actor-turned-welfare mogul’s trial, while she used a blue notebook to shield her face from view as she walked in and out of the courtroom.
They called Sanderson’s story “absolute nonsense” based on previous complaints from court documents and previous depositions accusing him of suing to exploit the Oscar-winning “Shakespeare in Love” star’s wealth and celebrity.
Sanderson’s lawyers have thus far attempted to portray her as a careless celebrity with little care for the injuries inflicted on the 76-year-old military veteran. Sanderson’s ex-girlfriend and a ski buddy who was nearby during the crash called to testify Tuesday. Karlene Davidson said the incident “changed” Sanderson and contributed to the end of their romance. Craig Ramon testified that Paltrow hit Sanderson and said later one of her family’s ski instructors came up to him and said “Your friend just took out Gwyneth Paltrow.”
The ongoing trial in Park City is the latest development in the seven-year case and follows Sanderson’s decision to amend a previous lawsuit after a $3.1 million lawsuit naming Paltrow and Deer Valley was dismissed. Paltrow subsequently filed a counterclaim for $1 and attorney fees.