The retired optometrist who is suing Gwyneth Paltrow for $300,000 over a 2016 ski crash that allegedly left him brain damaged is due to return to the stand today as the trial enters its penultimate day.
Goop guru Paltrow, 50, and Terry Sanderson, 76, have been battling it out in court in Park City, Utah, for over a week – with both giving dramatically different versions of what happened.
Sanderson says she slammed into him as he skied down the Deer Valley resort’s Bandana run while Paltrow says he hit her.
First on the stand was Dr Carl Black, an expert neuro-radiologist who had reviewed scans of Sanderson’s brain done before and after the crash.
Sanderson is claiming the crash left him with a serious brain injury but Dr Black said he saw no evidence of one in scans done post crash – and noted that he did see damage in scans done before 2016.
Gwyneth Paltrow, 50, arrives for the seventh day of her trial against retired optometrist Terry Sanderson, 76, who is suing her over a 2016 ski crash that allegedly left him brain damaged
Sanderson is due to return to the stand today as the trial enters its penultimate day
Dr Black testified that brain scans done on Sanderson in 2009 had shown evidence of a number of ‘pathologies’ including aging, microvascular disease and normal pressure hydrocephalus.
He told the court there was no evidence of brain trauma caused by the crash, telling court there ‘is no evidence of post traumatic brain injury’ due to the crash.
While noting the anomalies in Sanderson’s brain scans, Dr Black said: ‘Those findings pre-date the accident and go back to 2009.’
Dr Black’s testimony concluded and his cross-examination of began mid-morning.
First on the stand was Dr Carl Black, an expert neuro-radiologist who had reviewed scans of Sanderson’s brain done before and after the crash
Sanderson claims crash left him with a serious brain injury but Dr Black said he saw no evidence of one in scans post crash – and noted he did see damage in scans done pre-crash
Despite gloomy skies and blizzards being forecast for the morning, Paltrow arrived wearing her trademark $278 mirrored Rayban aviators, a navy coat and $1,400 Prada boots.
Once in court, which was packed with onlookers keen to witness the final days of the four-year legal battle, the actress peeled off her coat to reveal cropped black wide leg pants and a slim-fit black sweater.
She arrived less than 10 minutes before proceedings began – scheduled for the earlier time of 8.45am (local time) but held up until 9am while attorneys for both sides wrangled over an incident report filed in the wake of the crash and several motions.
Sanderson showed up with half an hour to spare and beamed at the cameras as he made his way inside dressed in a neat gray blazer, a patterned tie and black pants.
Along with Sanderson, today’s schedule is due to include more expert witness testimony and potentially another appearance from Paltrow herself – her defense team said last week that they planned to recall the actress before the trial ends.
Despite gloomy skies and blizzards being forecast for the morning, Paltrow arrived wearing her trademark $278 mirrored Rayban aviators, a navy coat and $1,400 Prada boots
Her husband Brad Falchuk, 52, could also make an appearance before the legal battle comes to a close.
The trial is scheduled to end at noon on Thursday with closing arguments expected to begin around 11am Mountain Time.
Jurors will then retire to consider their verdict which is expected to come Thursday afternoon or Friday morning.
Yesterday, the court heard written statements from Paltrow’s children with Coldplay rocker Chris Martin, Apple, 18, and Moses, 16.
The pair told how their mother had been left furious by the crash, and suffering from soreness that led her to quit the slopes and book a massage instead.
During her testimony last week, Paltrow infamously said she had ‘lost half a day of skiing’ as a result of the crash.
Last week, jurors heard Paltrow’s account of the crash – including that she initially thought she was being sexually assaulted by Sanderson
Sanderson explained: ‘I got hit in my back so hard, it felt like it was perfectly centered. Serious, serious smack. And I’m flying. I’m absolutely flying. All I saw was a whole load of snow’
Apple told how she had been skiing ahead of her mother and didn’t see the crash but was told of it when a fuming Paltrow arrived for lunch 10 minutes later, ranting that an ‘a hole’ had skied into her.
She said: ‘My mom told me. She told us what happened. She came in and she looked a bit shocked. She said this a hole ran into me, right into my back. She did this motion showing how it happened.’
Apple said the collision was discussed at lunch, with Paltrow reiterated she had been skied into and was hit.
She added: ‘She decided to get off which she never does but she was in shock. I never see her really shaken up like that. She was clearly, visibly upset and she was in a little bit of pain. That’s why she went to the spa to get a massage.’
She also described Paltrow as ‘frantic’, ‘in a state of shock’ and in pain
The 18-year-old said Paltrow was still in pain later that evening when the family met up for dinner.
While Apple (left) and her Moses Martin (right) were ‘ready, willing and able’ to testify in person, their mother’s lawyers opted to have transcripts of their depositions read aloud
Moses, meanwhile, said he had seen the crash and his mother had been on the ground for around two minutes following the crash but got up by herself.
He added: ‘I stood there wondering what was going on and then I remember after we went to eat lunch.’
The now 16-year-old said he remembered Paltrow saying she had been hit before they went into lunch, saying: ‘I remember my mother saying she got hit or ran into.’
The court also heard from ski instructor Keri Oaks who testified the children had asked their mother to watch them on the slope – a key part of Sanderson’s case, with his lawyers pointing to it as evidence the Goop boss was ‘distracted’ at the time of the crash.
Earlier on Thursday, biomechanics expert Dr Irving Scher told court that Paltrow’s explanation was the more logical version of events and gave jurors a brief physics lesson that touched on Isaac Newton’s theory of gravity.
University of Utah director of stroke rehabilitation Dr Steven Edgley, 49, also appeared and told court that a person knocked unconscious would be unable to state how long they had been out for – a direct jab at Sanderson’s assertion he had blacked out for two minutes.
Noting Sanderson had spoken to ski instructor Eric Christiansen after the crash, Dr Edgley added: ‘It was brief [the unconsciousness] if at all. It was likely he had some confusion but if he had no loss of consciousness and no post traumatic amnesia, it cannot be called concussion.’
He also said people with long concussion are frequently involved in litigation.
Dr Edgley said: ‘In a more likely than not scenario, in this 76-year-old brain, concussion should last only one to three months. There is a wide breadth of evidence for when symptoms last for more than three months, it is for monetary gain or litigation.’
The judge presiding over the trial in Park City has made it clear that he wants Paltrow’s defense team to rest their case by Thursday afternoon – in order to give the jury enough time to deliberate and come to a consensus.
Though the trial has titillated spectators worldwide who’ve consumed video clips circulated as memes on social media, it has tested the jury, whose eight members have gradually sunk deeper into their chairs through hours of expert-witness testimony.
After both sides give closing arguments on Thursday, the jury will likely make their decision later that day or on Friday.