Gwyneth Paltrow takes the stand in ski accident trial
Gwyneth Paltrow takes the stand in ski accident trial


Actress Gwyneth Paltrow has taken the stand to testify in a Utah trial over a 2016 snow skiing accident.

The actress and businesswoman has been present in the courtroom since the trial began on Tuesday when lawyers representing Paltrow and Terry Sanderson, a 76-year-old retired optometrist, presented their opening statements to a seated jury.

Sanderson has accused Paltrow of crashing into him and causing him lasting injuries and brain damage while they were both skiing on a beginner’s run on a Utah mountain in February of 2016. Sanderson also claims Paltrow and her ski instructor skied away after the incident without getting him medical care.

Paltrow filed a countersuit against Sanderson in 2019 claiming that he skied into her.

The two have been in a legal battle for seven years.

Paltrow took the stand just before 4pm local time and was questioned by Sanderson’s attorney, Kristin A. VanOrman.

The Goop founder said on the day of the ski collision with Sanderson, she was skiing with her two kids, now-husband Brad Falchuk and his two kids.

The collision happened on the first day of their trip, she said.

All of the children, who are around the same age, took ski lessons, Paltrow said. She testified that while she didn’t recall the exact amount, these lessons cost several thousand dollars for all of the kids, plus tips.

When asked if she was a good tipper, Paltrow answered, “yes.”

Paltrow then repeated her assertion that Sanderson skied directly into her back and caused the collision.

“He struck me in the back, yes, that’s exactly what happened,” Paltrow said, as the lawyer read back a portion of her description of the events from a deposition.

On Friday, proceedings kicked off with the conclusion of videotaped testimony given by Richard Boehme, a biomedical engineer, who acted as an expert witness.

Mark Herath, a longtime friend of Sanderson and avid skier, then took the stand, speaking to Sanderson’s skiing skills prior to the accident, among other subjects.

Sanderson’s daughter, Shae Sanderson Herath, took the stand shortly before noon local time. Sanderson Herath is married to Mark Herath’s brother.

Sanderson Herath said on the stand that her father “doesn’t trust his brain anymore.”

“From his daughter’s perspective, I feel that his life is exhausting,” she said.

In the days since the trial began, a series of witnesses have testified, including Sanderson’s friend Craig Ramon, who also on the slopes the day of the collision. Ramon was the first witness to testify in the trial on Tuesday.

Radiologist Wendell Gibby testified on Wednesday that Sanderson “deteriorated” after the collision and stopped doing many of the activities he did prior to the incident. The jury also heard expert witness testimony from neuropsychologist Sam Goldstein, who evaluated Sanderson in 2020 and testified about various shifts in Sanderson’s mental health since the collision.

On Thursday, Sanderson’s daughter Polly Sanderson Grasham gave emotional testimony about how a year and a half after the crash, she noticed her father’s “processing speed” appeared to have changed. Sanderson Grasham later said her father is a “principled man” and that she believes that he wants “someone to at least apologize or acknowledge or be held accountable for their decision that day.”

Video depositions of Alina K. Fong, a clinical neuropsychologist who treated Sanderson following the collision, and Richard Boehme, a biomedical engineer who testified as an expert witness, were also played for the jury on Thursday. Boehme evaluated Sanderson in 2021 and testified that he believed the injuries Sanderson sustained to his ribs could have only been the result of being struck from behind.

In the court documents originally filed by Sanderson and obtained by CNN in 2019, Sanderson stated that while skiing at Deer Valley Resort, Paltrow allegedly “skied out of control … knocking him down hard, knocking him out, and causing a brain injury, and four broken ribs and other serious injuries.”

According to Paltrow’s countersuit, 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. Plaintiff apologized. She was shaken and upset, and quit skiing for the day even though it was still morning.”

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.

Paltrow is seeking $1 in damages, plus attorneys’ fees.

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