Gwyneth Paltrow was called to the witness stand on Friday in a civil suit filed against her, where she emphatically denied causing a 2016 accident at Utah’s Deer Valley Resort that seriously injured a man.
Terry Sanderson, 76, who is seeking $300,000 from Paltrow, says she hit him from behind in a ski collision that left him with a concussion, brain injury and four broken ribs. But Paltrow claims it was actually Sanderson’s fault and that he is exploiting her wealth.
“Mr. Sanderson categorically hit me on the ski slope and that’s the truth,” Paltrow said from the stands on Friday.
The actor and Sanderson are both contesting who hit whom and who was further up the hill at the time of the crash. The Deer Valley website says the person has right of way up or downhill.
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 skiing “smoothly” down the slope when she felt a body press against her back and saw two skis slide between hers. She and Sanderson fell to the floor, Paltrow said, adding that she froze for a moment before getting upset and yelling an expletive at Sanderson.
Paltrow apologized for the outburst, saying she felt violated and initially thought the crash may have been a sexual assault.
“There was a body pressing against me and there was a very strange growling noise,” she said.
Paltrow said she stayed on site until a ski instructor who had worked with one of her children told her she could go. The instructor filled out a report documenting the incident, Paltrow said, and made sure Sanderson was okay.
Paltrow is seeking $1 in damages and attorney’s fees.
When a Sanderson attorney, Kristin VanOrman, pressed Paltrow about an eyewitness account of the crash that differs from her own, Paltrow questioned the veracity of the witness, insisting 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 about 10 yards uphill from Sanderson at the time of the accident.
Ramon said he heard a scream and within seconds saw Paltrow crash into Sanderson from behind. He stopped beside them after watching them both fall to the ground and said that Paltrow got back up, but Sanderson was face down in the snow for about two minutes.
Paltrow did not speak to them, said Ramon, who left about four minutes after the accident without identifying himself or asking if Sanderson was okay or needed medical attention.
Ramon denied claims by Paltrow’s lawyers that a member of the ski patrol passed the scene of the accident, telling the court that he flagged the ski patrol after he and Sanderson tried to continue skiing downhill. Sanderson was clearly “unwell,” so Ramon said he asked for help to get Sanderson to the resort’s nursing station.
Paltrow’s lawyers are expected to take up her defense next week, after Sanderson’s lawyers dropped their case.
Diana Dashrath contributed.