By SAM METZ (Associated Press)
PARK CITY, Utah (AP) — Gwyneth Paltrow is expected to testify Friday in a trial over a 2016 ski collision at a Utah ski resort, where a man claims that the movie star’s recklessness caused broken ribs, brain damage and lasting physical injuries.
Paltrow and Terry Sanderson, the retired optometrist suing her, are both expected to answer questions about the crash while their attorneys jostle to convince the 10-member jury which skier was positioned downhill and had the right of way. The actor-turned-lifestyle influencer has said that Sanderson was responsible for the crash.
In a trial that Judge Kent Holmberg and attorneys for both parties have agreed will last eight days, with each side getting four days to call their own witnesses, Friday marks the final day that Sanderson’s attorneys can compel Paltrow to testify.
Paltrow’s attorney said both sides have discussed calling Paltrow to the stand before the man suing her, likely in the afternoon.
Her testimony will likely mirror what she said in previous depositions, where she said she “froze” when the crash happened.
“We came crashing down together. This man was behind me on the mountain,” she said in November 2020. “My knee – and our skis were still sort of tangled up. Our bodies were almost spooning and I moved away quickly. And my knee splayed open, and I was in shock.”
Next week, Paltrow’s team is expected to call medical experts, ski instructors and her two children, Moses and Apple.
The trial thus far has shone a spotlight on Park City, Utah — the posh ski town known for rolling out a red carpet for celebrities each January during the Sundance Film Festival — and Deer Valley Resort, where Paltrow and Sanderson collided. The resort is among the most upscale in North America, known for sunny slopes, après-ski champagne yurts and luxury lodges.
The proceedings have delved deep into the 76-year-old Sanderson’s medical history and personality quirks, with attorneys questioning whether his deteriorating health and estranged relationships stemmed from the collision or natural process of aging.
The trial has touched on themes ranging from skier’s etiquette to the power — and burden — of celebrity.
Sanderson is seeking “more than $300,000” in damages, while Paltrow has countersued for $1 and attorney fees. The amount of money at stake for both sides pales in comparison to the typical legal costs of a multiyear lawsuit, private security detail and expert witness-heavy trial.
Lawyers for Paltrow spent much of Thursday raising questions about Sanderson’s mentions of her wealth and celebrity as well as what they called his “obsession” with the lawsuit.
The first three days of the trial featured testimony from medical experts, Sanderson’s personal doctor, a ski companion and his daughter, who said she noticed post-concussion symptoms less than a year after the accident.
Her lawyers Thursday asked Sanderson’s daughter whether her father thought it was “cool” to collide with a celebrity like Paltrow, the Oscar-winning star of “Shakespeare in Love” and founder-CEO of lifestyle brand, Goop.
Paltrow’s attorneys have cast doubt on Sanderson’s medical experts and suggested that the lawsuit could be an attempt to exploit her fame and celebrity.
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