Gwyneth Paltrow took the stand Friday in a civil trial over allegations that she negligently collided with a retired optometrist in 2016 while skiing, causing lasting damage.
Paltrow has been present in the Park City, Utah, courtroom since the trial began Tuesday and has heard testimony from witnesses called by attorneys representing her accuser, Terry Sanderson.
One of Sanderson’s attorneys, Kristin Vanorman, questioned the actor and wellness influencer for nearly an hour about his recollection of the details of the incident, as well as his knowledge of ski rules and etiquette.
At one point, when Vanorman asked Paltrow if she knew of a rule about sharing contact information at the time of a ski collision, she replied that she felt Sanderson was at fault. and that his ski instructor had promised Sanderson his information and told him to ski to his children.
“I appreciate that, but my question was, did you know the rule of skiing that if you have a collision you need to share that information?” Vanorman repeated, pressing Paltrow.
“I don’t think I knew the rule,” she replied.
Sanderson initially filed the $3.1 million lawsuit, which now seeks around $300,000 in damages, in 2019.
From the beginning, Paltrow and Sanderson’s memories of the event have differed markedly. Jurors must decide whether Paltrow was negligent during the accident, and much of that revolves around who was uphill and who was downhill. A downhill skier has the right of way.
During testimony, Paltrow stood her ground, echoing statements given in her counterclaim and recalling that Sanderson’s body “pressed on my back, so I froze…and then it was probably a good few seconds, and then we fell to the ground.” right. ”
She then said she told Sanderson, “‘You skied right into my fucking back,’ and he said, ‘Oh, sorry, sorry, sorry.'”
Earlier in Tuesday’s trial, Greg Ramone, a ski buddy of Sanderson’s who said he witnessed the accident, testified that Paltrow was uphill and had skied to Sanderson.
When Vanorman reminded Paltrow of Ramone’s earlier testimony from Tuesday, the actor and businessman dismissed her testimony.
“I don’t think he saw what he thinks he saw,” he said.
“EM. Paltrow,” Vanorman asked, creating a tense moment, “why would I lie?”
After an objection from her lawyer, which the judge overturned, Paltrow commented on Ramone’s color blindness and the distance of the accident.
“If you have two people in ski gear and you’re more than 40 feet apart, I’m not sure you’d be able to tell who’s who,” Paltrow said. “And I can say that he didn’t, because Mr. Sanderson flat out beat me on that ski slope, and that’s the truth.”
“And I’m sure that’s what you believe,” Vanorman said.
“Because it’s the truth,” Paltrow replied.
Throughout the trial, Sanderson’s legal team has attempted to paint the 76-year-old as an avid skier, traveler and family man whose health declined in the years since the accident, blaming the alleged out-of-control skier on Paltrow. . Other witnesses who testified include medical experts, a former romantic partner and Sanderson’s daughter.
At the end of proceedings on Friday, Sanderson’s lawyers said they planned to call him to the stand first thing Monday morning, before resting his case.
Paltrow’s lawyers have yet to call a witness. However, her husband, television writer and producer Brad Falchuk, and her two teenage sons with her ex-husband Chris Martin, Apple and Moses, are expected to testify during the trial, which will run until the next week. Paltrow’s family had been skiing together while on vacation at Deer Valley Resort when the incident occurred.
Friday began with ongoing pre-recorded testimony from Richard Boehne, a neurologist who examined Sanderson and discussed the traumatic brain injuries Boehne says resulted from the accident. Other witnesses called Friday morning included Sanderson’s daughter, Shae Sanderson Herath, and her brother-in-law, Mark Stephen Herath.