Who is Terry Sanderson? The Utah doctor suing Gwyneth Paltrow over a ‘hit-and-run’ ski collision in Park City

Retired optometrist, 76, suing Hollywood star over collision on slopes in 2016

Joe Sommerlad
Thursday 30 March 2023 20:57 BST
Behind Gwyneth Paltrow’s Ski Lawsuit

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Hollywood actor-turned-lifestyle influencer Gwyneth Paltrow is facing legal action from a man who accused her of colliding with him in a “hit-and-run ski crash” seven years ago.

The incident took place on the slopes of Flagstaff Mountain, part of the Deer Valley Resort near Park City, Utah on 26 February 2016. Paltrow and retired optometrist, Dr Terry Sanderson, collided on a beginner’s course called the Bandana Run.

Mr Sanderson, 76, subsequently filed for damages in January 2019 and is seeking $300,000 in compensation for the injuries he sustained. Paltrow then filed a countersuit asking for a symbolic $1 and for her legal expenses to be covered.

Paltrow has called the lawsuit “a meritless claim” and “an attempt to exploit her celebrity and wealth”, insisting she “remembers what happened very clearly”.

The civil trial began on Tuesday 21 March, with each side arguing that the other was at fault.

Mr Sanderson insists that the movie star smashed into him after racing downhill in an “out-of-control” manner, according to CourtTV.

He claims that she struck him in the back with such force that he was left with “permanent traumatic brain injury, four broken ribs, pain, suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, emotional distress and disfigurement”.

In his complaint, the plaintiff argues that Paltrow “got up, turned and skied away” without summoning help, leaving him “stunned, lying in the snow, seriously injured”.

“A Deer Valley ski instructor, who had been training Ms Paltrow, but who did not see the crash, skied over, saw the injured Sanderson and skied off, falsely accusing Sanderson of having caused the crash,” the lawsuit states.

Gwyneth Paltrow gives testimony in the courtroom in Park City, Utah this week
Gwyneth Paltrow gives testimony in the courtroom in Park City, Utah this week (AP)

In the countersuit, Paltrow says that the instructor, Eric Christiansen, did see the incident and believed she was not to blame.

The suit also states that she received a “full body blow” in the collision and subsequently abandoned the day’s skiing in distress.

During a January 2019 press conference with his attorneys, Mr Sanderson said that seconds before the crash he had “heard this just hysterical screaming like… King Kong in the jungle or something”.

He said that he had drifted in and out of consciousness in the aftermath and that his “ribs felt very sore” and his “brain felt like it was injected with novocaine”.

Asked how a “petite” woman like Paltrow could have injured him, a man of 5’8 and weighing 160 pounds, Mr Sanderson answered: “The velocity explains it.”

The doctor, who spent his professional career in private practise in Soda Springs, Idaho, said that he has been skiiing for 30 years.

An acquaintance, Craig Ramon, said in a video statement that he witnessed the incident and that Paltrow “landed right on top of him, and then she slides off to the side”.

Mr Ramon said the star “didn’t say a single word” during the encounter and did not seek help.

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