Gwyneth Paltrow’s lawyer called the story of a retired optometrist who is suing her over a 2016 ski collision “utter B.S.” on Tuesday during the trial’s opening day in Utah, where the actor-turned-lifestyle influencer appeared in court looking somber.
Paltrow and Terry Sanderson, the man suing her, sat across from each other in a Park City courtroom as their attorneys gave opening statements that provided strikingly different accounts of the crash. Both described their clients as victims and blamed the other for the collision at Deer Valley, one of the country’s most upscale ski resorts.
The two showed little emotion as attorneys questioned their credibility and version of events on the first day of the trial, which is expected to last eight days. Sanderson’s attorneys said that they plan to call Paltrow to the stand to testify on Friday, but they could do so earlier in the week depending on the other witnesses’ availability.
Paltrow — wearing a cream-colored knit sweater, tweed harem pants and aviator-style reading glasses — shielded her face from photographers using a blue “GP”-initialed notebook as she entered and exited the courtroom. Sanderson wore a gray suit and left halfway before witnesses began testifying.
Sanderson claims that Paltrow was cruising down the slopes so recklessly that they violently collided, leaving him on the ground as she and her entourage continued their descent down the skiers-only mountain known for its groomed runs, après-ski champagne yurts and posh clientele.
“All skiers know that when they’re skiing down the mountain, it’s their responsibility to yield the right of way to skiers below them,” Sanderson’s attorney, Lawrence Buhler, told jurors, who — unlike those selected for most trials — walked into the courtroom smiling, likely because of their proximity to a major celebrity.
Buhler highlighted his client’s military service record and tried to appeal to the jury’s sympathies — describing the broken ribs and brain trauma Sanderson sustained during and after the crash. Attempting to draw a contrast, Buhler described Paltrow as a wealthy, experienced skier who adopted a “So what?” attitude about the collision.
Gwyneth Paltrow’s lawyer: Ski collision story ‘utter B.S.’