Gwyneth Paltrow’s Experts to Testify in Utah Ski Crash Case
PARK CITY, Utah (AP) — Gwyneth Paltrow’s attorneys are expected to call a series of experts and read depositions from her two teenage children on Tuesday in the first full day of the movie star’s trial that they have to call witnesses to make their case.
Due to the trial’s judge-imposed eight-day clock, Paltrow’s defense team is expected to face tough time management decisions much like Sanderson’s did throughout last week as they attempt to juggle family members, ski instructors and experts in skiing and brain science.
Paltrow is in court fighting a lawsuit from Terry Sanderson, the 76-year-old retired optometrist suing her for more than $300,000 over a 2016 ski collision that he says left him with broken ribs and years of lasting concussion symptoms. The actor and Goop founder-CEO has denied Sanderson’s claims that she crashed into him, countersuing for $1 and contending that he, in fact, skied into her.
Her defense attorneys will likely use their witnesses to continue making their two central, yet separate, arguments to the eight-member jury: That Paltrow did not ski into Sanderson and that he and his lawyers have exaggerated the extent of his injuries. As they cross-examined witnesses testifying on Sanderson’s behalf last week, they connected the two claims by raising questions about Sanderson’s motivations, painting him as an “obsessed” man trying to exploit Paltrow’s wealth and celebrity.
The first five days of the trial in Park City, the posh Utah ski town where the actor and retired optometrist crashed culminated with explosive testimony from Paltrow on Friday and Sanderson on Monday. After Paltrow said that a groaning Sanderson had veered into her from behind causing her to panic and wonder if she was being “violated,” Sanderson testified that Paltrow skied squarely into his back, sending him flying down the beginner run at the Deer Valley resort.
“All I saw was a whole lot of snow. And I didn’t see the sky, but I was flying,” Sanderson testified Monday morning as a blizzard blanketed Park City outside the courtroom and Paltrow sat feet away.
In a show of how the trial’s costs likely dwarf the amount of money at stake both sides have contracted brigades of experts to testify on their client’s behalf. But those experts have come up against the eight-day clock Judge Kent Holmberg put on the trial. In a show of how the case’s costs likely dwarf the amount of money at stake, lawyers on both sides have appeared strained as they’ve weighed their witness lists and asked the judge to repeatedly clarify the time constraints. Paltrow’s attorneys have complained about the schedule and repeatedly noted that their medical experts have flown in from out of state to testify on her behalf.
Similarly, Sanderson’s attorneys last week called to the stand his personal doctor as well as experts in neurology, neuropsychology and radiology to testify on the extent of his injuries and post-concussion syndrome. They also questioned two of his three daughters, his ex-girlfriend and a ski buddy who claims to be the sole eyewitness to the collision.
To appeal to the eight-member jury, Paltrow’s attorneys will confront decisions about how to balance the jargon-dense testimony of medical experts with that of family members and acquaintances. On Monday, her legal team called Deer Valley ski instructors and ski patrol to testify while high resolution animations of their recollections played on a projector between the witness stand and jury box.
On Tuesday, Paltrow’s lead counsel Steve Owens said he planned to bring a skiing expert and neurological rehabilitation expert to the stand Tuesday as the trial over a 2016 ski collision in Utah enters its sixth day. Though he earlier said he planned to have them testify, Owens said excerpts from the depositions of Paltrow’s children, 18-year-old Apple and 16-year-old Moses, would also be read in court. He said he was unsure whether his witness list would include Paltrow’s husband, television producer Brad Falchuk as the judge indicated he intended to abide by the trial’s eight-day clock.
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