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Paltrow causing ski crash ‘only scenario’, trial told

The man suing Gwyneth Paltrow over a skiing collision could only have suffered his injuries by her crashing into him, the star’s civil trial has heard.

March 24, 2023
By Mike Bedigan
24 March 2023

Gwyneth Paltrow colliding with a man from behind on a ski slope and falling on top of him is the “only scenario” that would explain his injuries, a US court has been told.

Terry Sanderson provided “a cushion” for the Oscar-winning actor during the incident at the Deer Valley resort in Utah in 2016, jurors heard.

The retired optometrist is suing Paltrow over the crash, in which he suffered several broken ribs and a severe concussion.

Paltrow denies the claim and is countersuing Sanderson, alleging he caused the collision.

Both are expected to provide testimony at the trial on Friday.

Jurors in Park City, Utah, heard testimony from Richard Boehne, who said Sanderson’s injuries could only have been caused by being struck from behind.

“He was hit by someone from the side and from behind, bear in mind that person landed on him. People who fall don’t get rib fractures … it takes something else,” he said on Thursday.

“If you had a choice between Mr Sanderson hitting Ms Paltrow or Ms Paltrow hitting Mr Sanderson, you would have to pick Ms Paltrow hitting Mr Sanderson from behind and falling on top of him to account for the rib fractures.

“If you were to compare two scenarios… there’s only one scenario that would account for enough force application to fracture those ribs and that would be Ms Paltrow striking Mr Sanderson from behind and falling to the ground.

“In essence he was like a cushion, if you will.”

Earlier, the court heard from Sanderson’s daughter, Polly Sanderson-Grasham, who said her father had been a “fun-loving, gregarious” man before the incident, as well as an experienced skier.

But she said seeing him at her own daughter’s graduation three months after the crash had been like a “slap in the face”.

“I felt like, ‘wow’. There was a moment when I almost expected drool to come out of his mouth,” she said.

“He wasn’t engaged with anyone … that was my first slap in the face that something is terribly wrong.”

She said her father could now not “see the forest for the trees” and got stuck “in the minutiae” of things.

“He’s easily frustrated, he gets agitated, angry – I didn’t have memory of him being an angry person but he’s got a pretty short fuse these days,” she said.

Sanderson-Grasham later became emotional, telling the court: “I hope that (my father) moves on. I hope that we’re able to put this very strange chapter behind us … We have a lot of healing to do.”

Jurors also heard from neuropsychologist Alina Fong, who said that when she first met Sanderson in 2017, he had presented “myriad” symptoms indicative of having suffered a concussion.

Fong said there was no evidence “whatsoever” that Sanderson was faking his injuries.

The defence is seeking damages of a minimum of $US300,000 ($A449,000), while Paltrow’s counterclaim is for $US1.

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