Gwyneth Paltrow files counter claim over Utah ski crash
'He knocked her down,' claims actor's countersuit
Actress Gwyneth Paltrow denied Wednesday that she skied into a man who accused her in a lawsuit of seriously injuring him at a Utah ski resort, alleging in a counter claim that the man actually plowed into her from behind and delivered a full "body blow."
Paltrow was skiing with her children and friends Feb. 26, 2016 during a family vacation on a beginner run named "Bandana" at Deer Valley Resort in Park City, Utah, when Terry Sanderson smashed into her, the actress' attorney alleged in a counter claim filed in court. Paltrow said she was shaken by the collision and quit skiing for the day.
She said Sanderson apologized to her and said he was fine, her response to Sanderson's lawsuit said. She had previously denied blame for the crash in a statement but had not yet offered a full version of the events.
"She did not knock him down," Paltrow's court filing said. "He knocked her down. He was not knocked out."
Paltrow, known for her roles in Shakespeare in Love and the Iron Man movies and her lifestyle company named goop, said her injuries were minor and that she is seeking "symbolic damages" of $1 US plus costs for her lawyers fees from Sanderson for defending herself against what she called a "meritless claim.'
Her legal response to Sanderson also called his lawsuit an "attempt to exploit her celebrity and wealth."
Paltrow's account differs greatly from the sequence of events alleged by Sanderson in the lawsuit filed Jan. 29. He said Paltrow was skiing out of control and knocked him out, leaving him with a concussion and four broken ribs. Sanderson referred to it as a "hit and run" and is seeking $3.1 million US in damages.
Sanderson, a retired optometrist, told reporters in Salt Lake City on the day he sued that he waited to file the lawsuit for nearly three years because he had problems with attorneys and could not function properly because of the concussion.
Sanderson's attorney, Robert Sykes, did not immediately respond Wednesday to an email seeking comment about Paltrow's response to his client's lawsuit.
Sanderson's lawsuit and Paltrow's response to it both cite an incident report filed by a Deer Valley ski instructor about the collision.
The instructor, who was skiing with Paltrow's 9-year-old son, said Sanderson was the uphill skier and hit Paltrow from behind. He said Paltrow had been making short turns as she skied behind her children, who were getting ski lessons downhill from her on the same ski trail, according to the report provided to The Associated Press by Paltrow's attorney through the actress' spokeswoman, Heather Wilson. It was not immediately clear if the report had been filed with the lawsuit.
But the instructor said in his report he did not actually see the collision and only heard Paltrow scream and hit the ground. He did not explain in the report how he knew that Sanderson caused the collision.
Sanderson in his lawsuit accused the instructor of filing a false report. Sanderson said he also heard Paltrow scream, right before he said she crashed into him, his lawsuit said.
Deer Valley Resort spokeswoman Emily Summers said Wednesday that the resort cannot comment on pending legal matters. Sanderson's lawsuit against Paltrow also includes the resort as a defendant.
The resort's attorneys asked the judge to dismiss the lawsuit in a court filing Tuesday in which they denied that the instructor falsified the report and defended how ski patrol personnel responded to the crash.
The resort said its ski patrol hauled Sanderson in a toboggan to a medical tent after the collision. The resort denied it inflicted the emotional distress Sanderson said he suffered after the collision.
"A recreational skiing accident that plaintiff waited nearly three years to sue on simply does not constitute an event that renders a 'reasonable person unable to cope with his daily life,'" Deer Valley said in its court filing.