Gwyneth Paltrow sued for alleged ski 'hit-and-run'

VIDEO: REUTERS
Gwyneth Paltrow
Gwyneth PaltrowPHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

WASHINGTON • Mr Terry Sanderson remembers Feb 26, 2016, was a "beautiful day".

He and a group of fellow skiers had plans to hit the slopes at Deer Valley Ski Resort in Park City, Utah.

But what was supposed to be a fun day ended abruptly when Mr Sanderson found himself suffering from "serious brain injuries" and four broken ribs, which he now alleges were caused by Oscar-winning actress Gwyneth Paltrow.

The 72-year-old retired optometrist claims that Paltrow, 46, was "skiing out of control" when she hit him from behind, "knocking him down hard, knocking him out", according to a copy of the lawsuit obtained by KUTV.

Instead of staying to help, "Paltrow got up, turned and skied away, leaving Sanderson stunned, lying in the snow, seriously injured", the lawsuit said, describing the incident as a "hit-and-run ski crash".

The lawsuit, filed on Tuesday in Utah state court, also alleges that Mr Eric Christiansen, a Deer Valley ski instructor who was with Paltrow at the time, not only failed to call for help, but "falsely" accused Mr Sanderson of having caused the crash.

Mr Sanderson is suing Paltrow, Mr Christiansen and the resort for "negligent actions", seeking an excess of US$3.1 million (S$4.1 million) in damages.

A spokesman for Paltrow told The Washington Post in an e-mail statement that the lawsuit "is completely without merit", adding, "Anyone who reads the facts will realise that".

Mr Sanderson said during a news conference on Tuesday that his group had been making their way down a beginner's slope.

"Then, I heard this hysterical scream," he said.

In an instant, Mr Sanderson said he felt something hit him in the back near his shoulder blades. The force of the impact knocked him face first into the slope and left him unconscious.

Mr Craig Ramon, one of the people who had been skiing with Mr Sanderson, witnessed the crash and filled in the blanks.

In a taped interview conducted by one of Mr Sanderson's lawyers, Mr Ramon said he too had heard "a yell... or a noise", before seeing Paltrow hit Mr Sanderson.

Paltrow, Mr Ramon said, was struggling to get up and did not respond to him repeatedly asking her if she was okay.

After getting to her feet, Paltrow started skiing away and the rest of her group followed, Mr Ramon said.

The instructor helped Mr Sanderson up before also leaving the pair behind to go after Paltrow, he said.

Beyond the broken ribs, the lawsuit said Mr Sanderson had suffered a "closed brain injury", which Mr Robert B. Sykes, one of Mr Sanderson's attorneys, likened to "shaken baby syndrome".

Lawyers representing Paltrow "don't deny the collision", but they argue that "Gwyneth Paltrow was downhill and Terry Sanderson hit" her, Mr Sykes said.

WASHINGTON POST

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 01, 2019, with the headline 'Gwyneth Paltrow sued for alleged ski 'hit-and-run''. Print Edition | Subscribe