Gwyneth Paltrow was confronted on the stand for her alleged “lack of common decency” in the aftermath of a 2016 ski collision.
The Hollywood star took the stand on the fourth day of her bombshell trial in Park City, Utah, on Friday. Attorneys for 76-year-old Terry Sanderson argued that Ms Paltrow ploughed into him on the slopes of Flagstaff Mountain at the Deer Valley Resort on 26 February 2016.
Mr Sanderson claims she slammed into him in a “full body hit” leaving him with “permanent traumatic brain injury, four broken ribs, pain, suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, emotional distress and disfigurement”. Meanwhile, Ms Paltrow alleges it was Ms Sanderson who crashed into her.
When asked if she was aware that not leaving the scene of a ski collision is not only a rule in skiing but also common decency, Ms Paltrow argued that she had left her information with her skiing instructor.
“Because I was hit by Mr Sanderson and I assumed he was at fault,” Ms Paltrow said. “[My instructor] said he would leave all the information ... I said you should go ski down because my kids were waiting for me.”
Mr Sandersons’s attorneys said that in the moments preceding the crash, Ms Paltrow’s son Moses told her ‘Mommy, mommy! Watch me,” according to the then-nine-year-old’s ski instructor. The lawyer argued that Ms Paltrow may have been distracted at the time and hence unable to remember the accident clearly.
“I was skiing and looking downhill, as you do,” Ms Paltrow rebutted. “And I was skied directly into by Mr Sanderson.”
Ms Paltrow said her ski instructor had asked Mr Sanderson how he was and he had replied, “I am okay.”
“Did you ever ask, ‘Hey how is that guy who ran into my back,’ Did you ask anyone at Deer Valley about that?” Kristin VanOrman, an attorney for Mr Sanderson, asked.
Ms Paltrow answered: “I did not because at the time, I did not know he had sustained injuries like that.”
“... When you are the victim of a crash, your psychology is not necessarily about the person who perpetrated it.”
The Hollywood star went on to tell the court under cross-examination that she felt “very sorry for” Mr Sanderson but that she did not play any role in Mr Sanderson’s cognitive decline.
“It seems he has had a very difficult life but I did not cause the accident so I cannot be at fault for anything that subsequently happened to him,” she told the jury.
During the first four days of trial, Mr Sanderson’s attorneys and expert medical witnesses have described how injuries were likely caused by someone crashing into him from behind and attributed noticeable changes in his mental acuity to that day’s injuries.
Ms Paltrow’s attorneys have tried to paint Dr Sanderson as a 76-year-old whose decline followed a normal course of ageing rather than resulted from crashing into their celebrity client.