PARK CITY, Utah -- Actress Gwyneth Paltrow's civil trial for a ski accident that occurred more than seven years ago began Tuesday.
Terry Sanderson, a retired optometrist, filed a lawsuit in January 2019 accusing Paltrow of crashing into him at the Utah-based Deer Valley Ski Resort on Feb. 26, 2016, and leaving him "seriously injured."
The actress has denied causing the collision and, in a countersuit, claimed it was Sanderson who crashed into her, delivering a full "body blow" from behind.
Read on more background on this civil trial.
Sanderson's original complaint filed against Paltrow claims that Paltrow allegedly "skied out of control and hit the back of Terry Sanderson, another skier, who was downhill, knocking him down hard, knocking him out, and causing a brain injury, four broken ribs and other serious injuries."
The original complaint also named a Deer Valley ski instructor, the Deer Valley Resort Company LLC, and 2 other unnamed employees of the resort, listed as Jane and John Doe.
The complaint stated that "Paltrow got up, turned and skied away, leaving Sanderson stunned, lying in the snow, seriously injured." According to the complaint, the Deer Valley Resort ski instructor who was training Paltrow allegedly "saw the injured Sanderson and skied off, falsely accusing Sanderson of having caused the crash."
"He also failed to send help, as he was obligated to do, and later filed a false report to protect his client, Ms. Paltrow," the complaint stated.
Sanderson also alleged in the original complaint that "neither Ms. Paltrow nor Deer Valley lodge personnel notified emergency responders" about his injuries and "left him at the scene with serious brain injuries." The complaint claimed that at least two Deer Valley-employed instructors who were with the actress did not phone ski patrol for help for him.
The complaint also alleged that the ski instructor later "filled out and signed an incident report falsely stating that Gwyneth Paltrow did not cause the crash" even though the ski instructor allegedly "did not see the crash" happen.
In an amended complaint filed in February 2019, Sanderson changed the value of damages he is seeking in the lawsuit from $3.1 million to $300,000.
The other parties listed in his complaints, including a Deer Valley ski instructor, the Deer Valley Resort Company LLC, and 2 other unnamed employees of the resort, were dismissed from the Sanderson's suit in January 2023. The resort was dismissed from the suit after its lawyer argued it is shielded from liability for skiing injuries given the inherent risks to the sport.
A month after Sanderson filed his original lawsuit, Paltrow filed a countersuit against him.
In it, she denied causing the collision and claimed that Sanderson was the one who "plowed into her back."
"Ms. Paltrow remembers what happened very clearly," the suit claimed. "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.'"
"Ms. Paltrow was angry with Plaintiff, and said so," the suit continued. "Plaintiff apologized. She was shaken and upset, and quit skiing for the day even though it was still morning."
In Paltrow's counterclaim, she claimed that a Deer Valley employee was present at the scene of the accident. Her counterclaim states that the worker asked Sanderson if he was OK to which he allegedly said he was. Her counterclaim states that the employee created a report saying Sanderson was the uphill skier who was responsible for their collision and that he had "taken [Paltrow] out from behind."
The Goop CEO and award-winning actress called the lawsuit against her an "attempt to exploit her celebrity and wealth," according to her countersuit.
The counterclaim stated that Paltrow said her injuries were "relatively minor" and that she is only seeking "symbolic damages" of $1 plus costs for her lawyers fees from Sanderson for defending herself against "this meritless claim."