Oscar-winning actress Gwyneth Paltrow is being sued over her involvement in a skiing accident in 2016 which left a man with serious injuries. Paltrow, who is best known her role as Pepper Potts in several Marvel films, and for founding the controversial 'wellness' brand Goop denies that she was responsible for the injuries suffered by Terry Sanderson.
Sanderson filed a lawsuit against the Shakespeare in Love star, who is worth an estimated $200 million, accusing her of causing him serious injuries on a ski slope in Utah in 2016 when he was 69 years old.
Paltrow denies wrongdoing and responded with a countersuit in which she claims that Sanderson in fact caused her minor injuries. The trial began on Tuesday 21 March and is expected to last eight days.
Who is Terry Sanderson?
Sanderson is a retired optometrist who has unexpectedly entered the public eye following his appearance in a civil trial where he is suing high profile actress Gwyneth Paltrow. KSLTV reported that Sanderson had spent his career at a private practice in Soda Springs, Idaho.
The 76 year old, from Utah, previously stated that he had more than 30 years' of ski experience under his belt, and that until his encounter with Paltrow he had never been knocked down or knocked another skier over.
Why is Gwyneth Paltrow being sued?
Sanderson is suing Paltrow over an alleged hit and run ski accident which occurred in February 2016 at the Deer Valley Ski Resort in Utah. He originally intended to sue Paltrow for $3.1 million but in 2019 reduced the claim to $300,000.
In the suit, Sanderson alleges that Paltrow skied out of control into his back, knocking him to the ground, before skiing away, leaving him. The suit states that the collision caused Sanderson to suffer a brain injury, four broken ribs and other serious injuries.
According to ABC News, a witness speaking at the Park City district court, Utah where the hearing is being held, said that he saw Sanderson fall to the ground and that he was ‘totally out of it’. He added that Paltrow skied away without saying a word several minutes after the collision.
In his opening statement, Lawrence Buhler, representing Mr Sanderson, said that Paltrow had behaved recklessly on the day of the collision, adding that she was ‘blindly skiing down a mountain while looking up’.
Is Gwyneth Paltrow counter-suing?
Yes, the Marvel actress denied causing the collision and filed a countersuit in which she claims that Sanderson crashed into her in a full body blow, causing injury to both of them. She also alleges that Sanderson’s suit is merely an opportunity to exploit her celebrity status and wealth.
Paltrow’s suit claims: “Ms. Paltrow remembers what happened very clearly. She was enjoying skiing with her family on vacation in Utah, when Plaintiff -- who was uphill from Ms. Paltrow -- plowed into her back. She sustained a full 'body blow.'"
Stephen Owens, representing Paltrow, said: “Gwyneth was hurt by Mr Sanderson’s negligence. Anyone sustaining a blow is upset, she is sore, she never went to a doctor ... but it rattled her and it physically hurt her.”
Owens also claimed that Sanderson’s characterisation of events on the day of the collision was ‘utter B.S.’ Paltrow is seeking symbolic damages of $1 in addition to payment of her total legal costs to counter what she has called a ‘meritless claim’.