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The Optometrist vs. The Celebrity: How Gwyneth Paltrow Went to Trial for 2016 Ski Crash

Retired optometrist Terry Sanderson is seeking more than $300K in damages for incident at upscale Utah ski resort.




The Optometrist vs. The Celebrity: How Gwyneth Paltrow Went to Trial for 2016 Ski Crash

Source: YouTube screenshot

Gwyneth Paltrow is spending her week in Utah on trial for a 2016 incident at Deer Valley ski resort in Park City, Utah.

Retired optometrist Terry Sanderson claims Paltrow crashed into him at the upscale ski resort. He insists the Oscar-winning actress was skiing “out-of-control” and slammed into him from behind. The now 76-year-old says the collision resulted in “permanent traumatic brain injury, four broken ribs, pain, suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, emotional distress and disfigurement.”

A judge threw out an earlier lawsuit in which Sanderson was seeking $3.1 million. The judge also ruled Sanderson could not sue for punitive damages. Sanderson then adjusted his case and is suing for “more than $300,000” in alleged damages.

For her part, Paltrow denies the claims and is countersuing Sanderson for $1 and related attorney fees.

Attorneys for both sides are attempting to place the blame for the incident on the other. Sanderson’s attorneys are framing the trial as a David-vs.-Goliath battle. Paltrow’s attorneys are suggesting her celebrity status is the driving force behind why this incident has gone to trial.


Paltrow is undeniably Hollywood royalty. The daughter of actress Blythe Danner and director Bruce Paltrow, Gwyneth Paltrow set herself apart as a top actress beginning in the mid-’90s. She won a Best Actress Oscar in 1998 for her role in Shakespeare in Love. She’s remained in the public eye as an influencer and the founder and CEO of her lifestyle and wellness company Goop.

Sanderson, who spent his career in private practice in Soda Springs, ID, claims his life hasn’t been the same since the incident. His daughter Polly Sanderson Grasham took the stand Thursday to testify that before the crash, her father was “a goer.” She said that after the crash her father’s “processing speed” seemed to have diminished.

A key to the trial is an obscure Utah law that stipulates that whoever is downhill on a ski slope has the right of way when skiing or snowboarding.

Both sides claim they were the one downhill at the time of the incident.

Doctors and health experts took to the stand Thursday. Paltrow is expected to take the stand either Friday or early next week. Her children also are expected to take the stand at some point.



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