By Tyler Clifford
(Reuters) – Oscar-winning actor Gwyneth Paltrow took the stand on Friday to testify that she was not at fault for a 2016 ski slope collision in Utah that left a man with a concussion and broken ribs, contradicting testimony from the lone witness to the incident.
Paltrow, 50, said during cross examination that she was skiing with her two children, and said that in fact she was struck by Terry Sanderson, a 76-year-old retired optometrist who filed a lawsuit seeking more than $300,000 in damages over the incident at the Deer Valley Resort in Utah.
In court papers, Sanderson said he suffered “permanent traumatic brain injury” as a result of the collision. He initially had sought $3.1 million in damages.
“I was skiing and two skis came between my skis, forcing my legs apart, and then there was a body pressing against me and there was a very strange grunting noise,” Paltrow said.
Paltrow said that is when they both fell to the ground with Paltrow on top of Sanderson, in a heap of skis and limbs.
Paltrow has filed a counter claim in Summit County District Court seeking a symbolic $1 in damages and lawyer fees.
Paltrow, who is also known for her Goop lifestyle brand, called into question prior testimony from Craig Ramon, a friend of Sanderson’s who said he heard a scream before he saw Paltrow crash into the retired optometrist.
Paltrow denied the accusation, claiming that Ramon was 40 feet away and unable to discern who was at fault.
Paltrow also refuted claims by Sanderson that she had skied off and ignored rules to share contact information with another party after an accident.
A Deer Valley Resort staff member, who was providing Paltrow and her family lessons and did not see the collision, stayed behind to provide contact information to Sanderson, she said.
The instructor, Eric Christiansen, is expected to testify next week.
Paltrow, who said she was upset and cursed at Sanderson after the collision, said she did not ski off until after Sanderson told Christiansen that he was fine.
“I did not cause the accident, so I cannot be at fault for anything that subsequently happened to him,” Paltrow said.
(Reporting by Tyler Clifford in New York; Editing by Mary Milliken and Leslie Adler)