Gwyneth Paltrow is being sued by a man who claims that, on a slope in Park City, Utah, in February 2016, she carelessly ran him down and then “skied away.” Terry Sanderson, 72, is a retired optometrist who filed a lawsuit for just over $3 million, alleging that Paltrow skied into him from behind, “knocking him down, landing on top of him, and causing him to suffer a concussion, brain injury and four broken ribs.”
In a press conference on January 29, Sanderson and his lawyers, Lawrence D. Buhler and Robert B. Sykes, detailed their suit against Paltrow. They described her actions as the product of carelessness and cruelty. Sanderson claims that before the alleged collision, he “heard this just hysterical screaming like … King Kong in the jungle or something.”
His lawyers even went so far as to cite the National Ski Area Association’s Skier Responsibility Code, according to the the Salt Lake Tribune. Sanderson’s lawyers argued that Paltrow should have avoided him, based on the code, which they said “even applies to celebrities, believe or not.”
“It applies to Gwyneth Paltrow,” Sykes said. “What Miss Paltrow did that day was knock Terry Sanderson down, pick herself up, dust herself off and ski off.”
The suit against Paltrow claims that due to the alleged “ski and run,” Sanderson suffered “physical and mental injuries” including “pain, suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, emotional distress and disfigurement,” as well as “anxiety, depression and other health problems.” The suit further claims that he “incurred medical expenses and additional life care expenses,” and that he will “continue to suffer injuries and damages in the future due to the negligence.”
Sanderson was prepared to address speculation about his claim. How could a ski accident cause such severe injuries, some of which his lawyers compared to shaken baby syndrome? “I think velocity explains [it],” he said. “A little bitty bullet can make a big hole.”
A representative for Paltrow said a statement to People that Sanderson’s suit was baseless. “This lawsuit is completely without merit” they said. “Anyone who reads the facts will realize that.”
Paltrow is not the only person being sued in this snowy fiasco. Sanderson is also suing Deer Valley Resort Company, where the accident took place, and Deer Valley ski instructor Eric Christiansen, who was allegedly with Paltrow at the time. Sanderson accused Christensen of yelling at him while he was injured on the ground, and the suit claims that he “later filed a false report to protect his client, Ms. Paltrow,” to make it appear at that Sanderson was at fault for the collision.
Even though he is suing Paltrow for millions of dollars, according to the Tribune, Sanderson claimed that all he ever really wanted from the actress was acknowledgment and an apology. He claims that immediately following the accident and in the following years, Paltrow “didn’t say a single word.”
Update on 2/20/19 at 3:15 p.m.:
Gwyneth Paltrow has finally responded to Sanderson’s lawsuit — but not with an apology, like he hoped. Rather, she’s countersuing Sanderson for “symbolic damages” for just $1 (plus attorneys fees). In her suit, she denied being “out of control,” because she was skiing slowly for the sake of her children (who are named Apple and Moses). Paltrow also alleged that Sanderson acted no differently after their snow-collision, making the case that Sanderson wasn’t actually severely injured.
“Ms. Paltrow remembers what happened very clearly,” stated part of her suit, which was originally reported by “Page Six.” “She was enjoying skiing with her family on vacation in Utah, when Plaintiff — who was uphill from Ms. Paltrow — plowed into her back. She sustained a full ‘body blow.’ Ms. Paltrow was angry with Plaintiff, and said so. Plaintiff apologized. She was shaken and upset, and quit skiing for the day even though it was still morning.”
So now it is a full-fledged legal battle between Sanderson and Paltrow. Who’s telling the truth about that fateful ski accident three years ago? Only a civil court can decide.