Gwyneth Paltrow ski collision trial enters third day
By Lisa Respers France, CNN
Thursday’s testimony in the trial over a 2016 skiing accident involving Gwyneth Paltrow kicked off with testimony from a clinical neuropsychologist who treated the man who is suing the actress.
Alina K. Fong testified via videotaped deposition about the care she provided to Terry Sanderson, 76, who has accused Paltrow of crashing into him and causing him lasting injuries and brain damage while they were both skiing on a beginner’s run on a Utah mountain in February 2016.
Fong said she first saw Sanderson in May 2017 and described him as complaining of a “myriad of symptoms,” including cognitive issues, fatigue, mood and personality changes, pain and headaches.
“By the time I saw him, he was struggling with these concussive symptoms for almost a year and a half,” she testified.
Sanderson and Paltrow have been locked in a legal battle for seven years.
In the court documents obtained by CNN, Sanderson stated that while skiing at Deer Valley Resort, Paltrow allegedly “skied out of control … knocking him down hard, knocking him out, and causing a brain injury, and four broken ribs and other serious injuries.”
Paltrow filed a countersuit against Sanderson, a retired optometrist, claiming that he skied into her.
According to Paltrow’s countersuit, she “was enjoying skiing with her family on vacation in Utah, when Plaintiff — who was uphill from Ms. Paltrow — plowed into her back. She sustained a full ‘body blow.’ Ms. Paltrow was angry with Plaintiff, and said so. Plaintiff apologized. She was shaken and upset, and quit skiing for the day even though it was still morning.”
During cross examination Paltrow’s attorney James Egan questioned Fong as to whether it was possible that Sanderson’s symptoms could have been due to something other than the crash.
“Anything is possible but not probable,” Fong responded.
Sanderson’s middle daughter, Polly Sanderson Grasham, 49, testified that prior to the accident her father was “a goer.”
“I think people would describe him as fun loving, very gregarious, definitely an extrovert,” she said. “(He) enjoyed people, dancing, outdoor activity.”
In testimony that at times turned emotional, Sanderson Grasham, who lives in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, said a year and a half after the crash, she noticed her father’s “processing speed” appeared to have changed.
She described once seeing him sitting in a chair by a window in her house and said she “almost expected drool to be coming out of his mouth.”
“First of all, he wasn’t engaged with anybody,” she said. “He had kind of taken himself to a remote corner. That was my first real slap in the face of there’s something terribly wrong.”
Sanderson Grasham later said her father is a “principled man” and that she believes that he wants “someone to at least apologize or acknowledge or be held accountable for their decision that day.”
Sanderson had initially sued Paltrow for $3.1 million dollars, but later amended his complaint and is now seeking more than $300,000 in damages, according to court documents.
Paltrow is seeking $1 in damages, plus attorneys’ fees.
Richard Boehme, a biomedical engineer, also testified via videotaped deposition on Thursday as an expert witness.
Boehme testified that he believed the injuries Sanderson sustained to his ribs could have only been the result of being struck from behind.
Sanderson is expected to take the stand on Friday, his lawyers told the judge on Thursday.
Paltrow, who was also set to testify on Friday, will only take the stand “if there’s time,” Sanderson’s lawyer said.
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CNN’s Alli Rosenbloom contributed to this report.