SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Gwyneth Paltrow said Wednesday in a court filing that a man who accused her in a lawsuit of crashing into him at a Utah ski resort was actually the culprit in the collision and is trying to exploit her celebrity and wealth.
Paltrow was skiing with her children and friends in 2016 during a family vacation on a beginner run at Deer Valley Resort in Park City, Utah, when Terry Sanderson smashed into her from behind and delivered a full “body blow,’ the actress’ attorney alleged in a counter claim. Paltrow said she was shaken by the collision and quit skiing for the day.
She said Sanderson apologized and said he was fine, her response to Sanderson’s lawsuit said. Paltrow previously denied blame for the crash in a statement but had not 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 plus costs for her lawyers’ fees. She said Sanderson made 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 the events on Feb. 26, 2016, alleged by Sanderson in his lawsuit filed last month. He said Paltrow was skiing out of control and knocked him out, leaving him with a concussion and four broken ribs. He referred to it as a “hit and run” and is seeking $3.1 million in damages.
Sanderson, a retired Salt Lake City optometrist, told reporters 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, said his client’s version of events is the truth and corroborated by a friend he was skiing with who saw Paltrow hit Sanderson from behind. Sykes played a video of that man’s account at the Jan. 29 news conference.
“It is unfortunate that Ms. Paltrow would fail to tell the truth about what happened,” Sykes said.
Sanderson’s lawsuit and Paltrow’s response both cite an incident report filed by a Deer Valley ski instructor.
The instructor, who was skiing with Paltrow’s 9-year-old son, said Sanderson was uphill and hit Paltrow from behind. He said Paltrow had been making short turns as she skied behind her children, who were getting lessons downhill from her on the same trail, according to the report provided to The Associated Press by Paltrow’s attorney through the actress’ spokeswoman, Heather Wilson. The report will be an exhibit in the court case, Wilson said.
But the instructor said in his report said he did not actually see the collision and only heard Paltrow scream and hit the ground. He did not explain 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 does not comment on pending legal matters. Sanderson’s lawsuit against Paltrow also names 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 filing.