Utah law professor comments on Paltrow ski crash trial as actress takes the stand

Mar 24, 2023, 6:28 PM | Updated: 8:03 pm

PARK CITY, Utah — The first week of actress Gwyenth Paltrow’s trial wrapped up Friday. Paltrow is being sued over a 2016 ski accident. A University of Utah Professor of Law said this trial is very unique.

Paltrow and the plaintiff, Terry Sanderson, told very different stories about that day. Sanderson claimed Paltrow hit him on the ski slopes in Deer Valley in 2016, and Paltrow has countersued saying that Sanderson hit her.

“What it’s all going to come down to is what the jury believes,” Teneille Brown, professor of law at the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law, said. “Because this is a fact dispute, one person says this, the other says something different, and both of those things cannot be true.”

Paltrow took the stand Friday and said she was not engaging in any risky behavior, adding that Sanderson hit her in her back as she was skiing with her kids.

“Mr. Sanderson categorically hit me on that ski slope, and that is the truth,” Paltrow said.

Sanderson, while he did not take the stand Friday, claimed that Paltrow was skiing out of control, and the crash has caused ongoing mental and emotional issues for him, as well as breaking four of his ribs. 

Brown said that hearing from them both gives the jury the best idea of how to decide who is telling the truth.

“It’s all going to come down to who do they believe, which party is more calm, who’s making more eye contact, who seems more believable. This case is going to come down to which party is more credible,” Brown said.

Sanderson is suing Paltrow for more than $3 million. Paltrow is suing for $1 and attorney fees.

The trial is expected to last eight days, with proceedings resuming Monday at 9 a.m.

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Utah law professor comments on Paltrow ski crash trial as actress takes the stand