The actress and Goop founder is countersuing for $1 and legal fees after Terry Sanderson sued her for alleged negligence in a 2016 ski collision, seeking $300,000 in damages
The Oscar winner, 50, took the stand on Friday, taking questions from the opposing lawyers about the Feb. 26 2016, accident that happened on the slopes at Utah's Deer Valley Resort. Both parties agree the collision happened but they have conflicting points of view on who crashed into whom.
At one point, Paltrow was asked about skiing rules and etiquette, and she told the courtroom under oath, "Because I was hit by Mr. Sanderson and he was at fault, I assumed that Eric [Christiansen], who was our ski instructor who was there at the time who was overseeing the event, he said, 'I'm going to leave all of your information,' and he said, 'You should go ski down,' because my kids were waiting for me."
The trial — which is also supposed to hear testimony from Paltrow's husband Brad Falchuk and her kids Apple, 18, and Moses, 16, who were there the day of the incident — began on Tuesday. Jurors heard from the defense's expert witnesses and family members about how Sanderson, retired optometrist, saw an "acute" decline in his health after the accident.
His lawyers said Sanderson sustained injuries that included broken ribs and permanent brain damage, but Paltrow's team claimed the medical impact of the collision have been exaggerated — alleging that Sanderson is attempting to exploit the Goop founder's fame.
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Sanderson first filed a lawsuit against Paltrow back in January 2019. At the time, he accused her of colliding with him from behind while skiing down a beginner-level slope alongside a ski instructor. He sought damages in excess of $3.1 million back then, and a rep for Paltrow said at the time, "This lawsuit is completely without merit. Anyone who reads the facts will realize that."
She then filed a countersuit the next month, denying the allegations and claiming that Sanderson was the one who hit her from behind and is now trying to "exploit her celebrity and wealth."
Now, Sanderson is seeking $300,000 in damages, and Paltrow is countersuing for $1 and the cost of legal fees.
Before a jury was sworn in, Judge Kent R. Holmberg ruled that the they would not hear arguments concerning an alleged hit-and-run. The judge said he established, via evidence, Paltrow had stopped and determined that Sanderson did not have any significant injuries before she and the ski instructor left the scene of the incident.
Sanderson's attorney Lawrence Buhler said in his opening statement Tuesday that "distracted skiers cause crashes," as he alleged Paltrow was "blindly skiing down a mountain while looking up and to the side" before the crash occurred. "She knew what she was doing was dangerous. She knew she was reckless," Buhler added.
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