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.

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

It’s a he said, she said on the ski slopes.

A retired Utah optometrist is suing Gwyneth Paltrow, seeking more than $300,000 in damages in connection with a 2016 ski slope collision at a Park City ski resort.

Terry Sanderson, 76, alleges he sustained a brain injury and four broken ribs on February 26, 2016, when Paltrow knocked him over while skiing down Bandana run, a beginner-level hill at Deer Valley Resort on Flagstaff Mountain. 

According to Sanderson’s lawsuit, the actress was skiing in an “out-of-control” manner when she crashed into Sanderson, who was downhill from her.

Sanderson’s suit alleges Paltrow skied away from him without summoning help. The lawsuit also alleges that Deer Valley ski instructor Eric Christiansen blamed him for the accident and did not call for help. In addition, the suit alleges that the instructor filed a false report in order to protect Paltrow.

Sanderson’s complaint states that he suffered “a brain injury, four broken ribs and other serious injuries” after Paltrow struck him from behind, “knocking him down hard, knocking him out.” Additionally, Sanderson maintains he suffered “pain, suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, emotional distress and disfigurement.”

In response, Paltrow has filed a counterclaim. She’s seeking $1 in compensatory damages plus her attorneys’ fees and costs.

According to Paltrow’s countersuit, Sanderson admitted he didn’t remember what happened, but Paltrow says she remembers the incident clearly. According to her recollection, Sanderson was uphill from her and plowed into her from behind, causing her to sustain a “full body blow.” She said that when she expressed her anger to Sanderson, he apologized. 

Paltrow claims that although her injuries were minor, they caused her to end her day on the slopes when it was still morning.

Paltrow further recalled that the collision occurred in front of Christiansen — whereas Sanderson claims Christiansen didn’t witness the collision — and that Christiansen determined that Sanderson was the one who caused the accident.

Sanderson initially sued Paltrow for damages exceeding $3.1 million, alleging that the incident constituted a hit-and-run, but a judge dismissed those claims. Sanderson’s amended complaint seeks in excess of $300,000 from the lawsuit, maintaining Paltrow negligently caused his injuries.

The rules of the slope maintain that whoever is further down the mountain has the right of way. In this case, both Paltrow and Sanderson claim to have been further down.

Court TV is covering the trial extensively.