Gwyneth Paltrow was called to the witness stand Friday in a civil suit filed against her, where she emphatically denied that she caused an accident at Utah’s Deer Valley Resort in 2016 that left a man seriously injured.
Terry Sanderson, 76, who is seeking $300,000 from Paltrow, says she slammed into him from behind in a ski collision that left him with a concussion, brain injury and four broken ribs. But Paltrow alleges that it was actually Sanderson at fault and that he is exploiting her wealth.
“Mr. Sanderson categorically hit me on the ski slope and that is the truth,” Paltrow said from the stand Friday.
The actor and Sanderson both dispute who hit whom and who was farther up the hill at the time of the crash. Deer Valley’s website says the person ahead or downhill has the right of way.
Paltrow was called to the stand Friday by Sanderson’s attorneys, after the jury heard from Sanderson’s daughters, an eyewitness and medical experts.
Paltrow said she was “gently” skiing down the slope when she felt a body press into her back and saw two skis slide between hers. She and Sanderson fell to the ground, Paltrow said, adding that she momentarily froze before becoming upset and yelling an expletive at Sanderson.
Paltrow apologized for the outburst, saying she felt violated and initially believed the crash might have been a sexual assault.
“There was a body pressing against me and a very strange grunting noise,” she said.
Paltrow said she remained at the scene until a ski instructor who had been working with one of her children told her she could go. The instructor filled out a report documenting the incident, Paltrow said, and made sure that Sanderson was OK.
Paltrow is seeking $1 in damages and the reimbursement of attorney’s fees.
When a lawyer for Sanderson, Kristin VanOrman, pressed Paltrow about an eyewitness account of the crash that differs from hers, Paltrow questioned the witness’ accuracy and insisted that she was the one who was hit.
The witness is Sanderson’s acquaintance, Craig Ramon, who was at the resort with him as part of a meetup group. He testified Tuesday that he was roughly 35 feet uphill from Sanderson at the time of the accident.
Ramon said he heard a scream and within a few seconds, saw Paltrow slam into Sanderson from behind. He stopped beside them after seeing them both fall to the ground, saying Paltrow stood back up but Sanderson was facedown in the snow for about two minutes.
Paltrow did not speak to them, Ramon said, leaving about four minutes after the accident without identifying herself or asking if Sanderson was alright or needed medical attention.
Ramon denied assertions from Paltrow’s attorneys that a ski patrol member came by the scene of the accident, and told the court he flagged ski patrol after he and Sanderson attempted to continue to ski downhill. Sanderson was clearly “not OK,” so Ramon said he asked for help to get Sanderson to the resort’s nurse’s station.
Paltrow’s attorneys are expected to take up her defense next week, after Sanderson’s attorneys rest their case.
Diana Dasrath contributed.