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WATCH LIVE: Gwyneth Paltrow ski crash trial


We don’t know who ran into whom, but we do know one thing: the bunny slope wasn’t big enough for the both of them.

The 2016 crash between celebrated “Shakespeare in Love” actress Gwyneth Paltrow, 50, and retired eye doctor Terry Sanderson, 76, on the Deer Valley Resort ski slope in Park City, Utah, sparked a dispute that eventually led to a lawsuit and countersuit in 2019.

Now, over seven years later, the two will duke it out in the Beehive State’s Third District Court before Judge Kent Holmberg.

Sanderson, who claims the actress ran into him from behind and knocked him over, is asking for more than $300,000 in damages on a claim of simple negligence, alleging he suffered a brain injury and four broken ribs, among other serious injuries. Last spring, the judge overseeing the case denied Sanderson’s prior hit-and-run claim which would have put the total amount of liability at $3.1 million.

In an amended filing, the plaintiff requested in excess of $300,000, but in openings this week, reiterated the claim for $3 million.

The Goop founder is requesting a mere $1 in compensatory damages, as well as her legal fees and expenses in the case.

Utah has a law of the slopes, which generally says that skiing is inherently dangerous, that people skiing ahead of you have the right of way, and that it is your responsibility to avoid those ahead of you.

Between the pair of skiers, an agreement cannot be reached as to who caused the crash that day.

“Paltrow got up, turned and skied away, leaving Sanderson stunned, lying in the snow, seriously injured,” Sanderson’s complaint alleged. “A Deer Valley ski instructor, who had been training Ms. Paltrow, but who did not see the crash, skied over, saw the injured Sanderson and skied off, falsely accusing Sanderson of having caused the crash.”

That instructor, Eric Christiansen, was initially named in the petition, along with the Deer Valley Resort Company, but they were later removed in the same fell swoop as when Holmberg limited the line of argument about the alleged “hit-and-run” nature of the crash.

More Law&Crime coverage: Gwyneth Paltrow Ski Crash Trial: Doctor Suing Actress for Skiing ‘Out of Control’

In his petition, the former optometrist claims Paltrow rammed him from behind, “knocking him down hard, knocking him out.”

The actress says Sanderson has it exactly backwards.

“She did not knock him down,” Paltrow’s countersuit says. “He knocked her down. He was not knocked out. Ms. Paltrow was skiing carefully. She skied slowly to stay behind her children, who were receiving skiing instruction slightly further down the mountain.”

The sharply divergent narratives about the incident on the slopes are likely to put a great impetus on testimony delivered during the trial, a Salt Lake City-based tort law expert told Law&Crime.

“One important piece, which people don’t often learn about in law school, is the jury assessing the faces of the parties as they testify,” S.J. Quinney College of Law Professor Teneille R. Brown said. “It’s like something you often see on playgrounds with toddlers. One kid says the other knocked the other one down. And no one saw it happen, so you have to go back and recreate the incident and see who is more credible.”

More Law&Crime coverage: Gwyneth Paltrow ski crash trial likely to be anything but simple, legal experts say

Eight jurors have been assembled for the trial – which is expected to last at least roughly one week.

Watch the full trial as it airs live on the Law&Crime Network in the player at the top of this page.

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