Gwyneth Paltrow’s lawyer called the story of a retired optometrist who is suing her over a 2016 ski collision “utter B.S.” on Tuesday during the trial’s opening day in Utah, where the actor-turned-lifestyle influencer appeared in court looking somber.
Paltrow and Terry Sanderson, the man suing her, sat across from each other in a Park City courtroom as their attorneys gave opening statements that provided strikingly different accounts of the crash. Both described their clients as victims and blamed the other for the collision at Deer Valley, one of the country’s most upscale ski resorts.
The two showed little emotion as attorneys questioned their credibility and version of events on the first day of the trial, which is expected to last eight days. Sanderson’s attorneys said that they plan to call Paltrow to the stand to testify on Friday, but they could do so earlier in the week depending on the other witnesses’ availability.
Sanderson had initially sued Paltrow for $3.1 million dollars, but later amended his complaint and is now seeking more than $300,000 in damages, according to court documents.
Lawrence Buhler, an attorney for Sanderson, began opening arguments stating, “Distracted skiers cause crashes. Defendant Gwyneth Paltrow knew that looking up the mountain and to the side while skiing down the mountain was dangerous.”
Paltrow’s attorney Stephen Owens told the jury that Sanderson’s claims that the actress bolted from the mountain after ramming into him were totally fabricated.
Paltrow is seeking $1 in damages, plus attorneys’ fees.
The judge offered instructions Tuesday to the eight-person jury and the attorneys for each side introduced themselves to the court before opening statements by one of Sanderson’s lawyers, Lawrence Buhler, followed by Paltrow’s attorney, Steve Owens.
Owens reiterated Paltrow’s claim that she was downhill from Sanderson before the collision took place.
In an initial version of the suit, Sanderson sought $3.1 million in damages. But in May 2022, Third District Judge Kent Holmberg dismissed some of Sanderson’s claims against Paltrow, ruling that it was not a “hit-and-run ski crash,” according to the news outlet. The 76-year-old is now seeking $300,000 in damages.
Meantime, the Oscar-winning actress and entrepreneur filed her own countersuit about a month after Sanderson in 2019. In it, she recounted the events of the day, blaming him for the crash. She described him being uphill from her and her family when he suddenly plowed into her back, delivering a “full body blow.” According to Paltrow, she was angry with Sanderson and he apologized.
Each party wants the other to cover their legal costs. Paltrow is seeking $1 in damages.
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