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Judge responds after Gwyneth Paltrow’s security team offers ‘treats’ at ski trial: ‘Thanks, but no thanks’

“Thank you, but no thank you,” says Judge Kent Holmberg

Andrea Blanco
Friday 24 March 2023 08:53 GMT
Gwyneth Paltrow appears in court over Utah ski collision

Gwyneth Paltrow’s security team offered to bring “treats” to the bailiffs in the Utah courtroom where she is standing trial.

The Hollywood star and Goop CEO is being sued by retired optometrist Dr Terry Sanderson, 76, who claims she ploughed into him on the slopes of Flagstaff Mountain at the Deer Valley Resort on 26 February 2016.

Mr Sanderson claims Paltrow 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 claims it was Ms Sanderson who crashed into her.

Before proceedings began on Thursday, attorney Steve Owens asked the judge whether Ms Paltrow’s team could bring treats for the bailiffs in gratitude for their service.

Earlier this week, Judge Kent Holmberg had told the defence that the court would help accommodate Ms Paltrow’s transitions from her vehicle to the courtroom to avoid disturbances by press waiting in the parking lot to snap a picture of the star.

“Private security for my client wanted to bring in treats for the bailiffs for how helpful they’ve been,” Mr Owens said. “So, I wanted to do that transparently and see if there are any objections.”

Mr Sanderson’s attorneys then objected to the request, arguing that the defence did not fill them in before raising the request to the judge.

“OK, there’s an objection so thank you, but no thank you,” the judge ordered. “If the parties decide to do that later, that’s fine, too.”

On the third day of trial in Park City, Utah, psycho-neurologist Dr Alina Fong hit out at the defence’s claims that Mr Sanderson was exaggerating his symptoms to exploit Ms Paltrow’s celebrity status and wealth. Dr Fong, who opened a clinic in Boston in partnership with Tom Brady, has diagnosed Mr Sanderson with PCS (persistent post-concussive symptoms), which she said happened after the accident.

Paltrow is being sued over a skiing accident (AP)

Experts hired by Ms Paltrow have yet to testify, but when asked about their scepticism over Mr Sanderson’s PCS diagnosis, Dr Fong said that she believed she was the only expert who could make that call. Previously, Ms Paltrow’s attorneys said during opening arguments that Mr Sanderson’s claims were “utter BS.”

“There’s a huge difference between going over someone’s chart in another state or across the world and having that patient in front of me crying,” Dr Fong said in a deposition shown to the jury. “I think it’s very easy to criticise someone from far away and it’s totally different when you’re in the trenches with that patient, trying to get them help.”

The retired optometrist claims the Hollywood star crashed into him, something she denies (AP)

During the first two days of trial, his attorneys and expert medical witnesses have described how injuries were likely caused by someone crashing into Mr Sanderson 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.

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