PARK CITY, Utah — Two doctors on Wednesday described X-rays, brain scans and neurological tests documenting the medical condition of a man suing Gwyneth Paltrow over a 2016 skiing collision at an upscale Utah ski resort.
“After his accident, he took a sudden turn for the worse,” said Dr. Wendell Gibby about 76-year-old Terry Sanderson, the man who sued Paltrow, in court in Park City.
Sanderson’s attorneys called on medical experts to try to persuade jurors that the collision left their client with irreversible, life-changing injuries. Sanderson, who is a retired optometrist, was described in court filings and in the early days of the trial as a man who often skied at high-end resorts and traveled abroad.
However, his lawyers worked to frame the celebrity case as a David-versus-Goliath struggle, with their older but active client injured by the actor-turned-wellness-tycoon’s negligence.
Gibby, a radiologist, said brain images suggested the trauma to Sanderson’s head was likely caused by a skier falling on her, supporting Sanderson’s claims that she was hit by Paltrow. He said the long-term impact on Sanderson’s overall health was consistent with the severity of the collision. “Rib fractures definitely prove that there was enough force to cause a head injury,” Gibby added.
Dr. called Samuel Goldstein, a neuropsychologist, described Sanderson’s post-crash trajectory as a “chronic rapid decline” — and urged jurors to use their common sense instead of getting bogged down with questions about the white matter beneath the cortex of the brain. brain.
“If it wasn’t for that particular accident, the life that he was living for six months to a year before that … he would have continued to live,” Goldstein said of Sanderson.
Sanderson said Paltrow’s carelessness left her with physical injuries and brain damage. After a judge threw out her earlier $3.1 million lawsuit and ruled she wasn’t entitled to punitive damages, Sanderson amended her claims and now alleges damages of “more than $300,000.”
Paltrow is likely to testify Friday, and her children Moses and Apple are also expected to take the stand during the trial, her attorney said.
The amount of money sought is nothing compared to the typical legal costs of a multiyear lawsuit and expert witness-heavy trial. More than a dozen are expected to witness the entire eight-day trial in Park City — a posh ski town known for hosting celebrities each year for Sundance Film Festival.
In a counterclaim to Sanderson’s amended lawsuit, Paltrow is seeking $1 and attorney’s fees — a familiar, symbolic action that highlights how reputation, not money, is often at stake for celebrities in litigation like said Paltrow. Taylor Swift also countersued a radio host for the same, symbolic amount in 2017.
Although the court has not released a witness list for the celebrity trial, lawyers said Sanderson’s daughters will likely be called to the stand to testify. Lawyers are expected to question them about their father’s health, as well as emails exchanged after the crash that mention GoPro camera footage and Paltrow’s fame.
Both parties blame the other for the collision and claim they were hit from behind, relying on a little-known Utah law that states anyone downhill has the right of way when skiing or snowboarding.
Paltrow’s lawyers asked Judge Kent Holmberg to grant special restrictions throughout the trial, including limiting photography inside the courtroom and in the public parking lot outside — where a rope covers the Paltrow’s entrance and exit.
Sanderson left the courtroom Wednesday before experts testified about her health and mental acuity, but on the opening day of the trial, she sat across the courtroom from Paltrow. Both seemed unfazed as they heard the arguments that had become familiar in the seven years since their fall. Paltrow, the founder and CEO of the wellness company Goop, appeared in court Wednesday drinking green juice.
The trial is expected to hinge on how the 10 jurors — six women and four men — interpret evidence from medical experts, and whether they see Sanderson’s injuries as directly related to the accident or normal. part of aging. The jurors were all residents of affluent Summit County, where the median home last month sold for $1.3 million, according to Redfin.
On Wednesday, jurors stretched and yawned through hours of testimony dense with medical jargon. After Sanderson’s attorneys called experts on the stand to describe Sanderson’s health, Paltrow’s attorneys delved into the intricacies of various types of MRIs and neurological tests, casting doubt on the conclusions of experts.
In a trial expected to feature a long list of medical experts, Paltrow’s lawyers warned the jury not to be biased by sympathizing with Sanderson. They opened the trial by calling her story “utter BS” — building on earlier claims from court appearances and earlier depositions in which they accused her of suing to exploit the Oscar-winning wealth and celebrity. winning star of “Shakespeare in Love.”