Gwyneth Paltrow rolled her eyes and threw her hands up in exasperation during closing arguments in her ski crash trial as Terry Sanderson’s attorney made one last ditch attempt to convince the jury that the actress was at fault.
The eight-day trial in Park City, Utah wrapped up with final statements from both sides on Thursday afternoon. The case is now in the hands of the jury.
Sanderson, a 76-year-old retired optometrist, is suing Paltrow for $300,000 in damages over the 2016 collision, claiming it left him with four broken ribs and permanent brain injuries.
Sanderson’s lead attorney Lawrence Buhler guided jurors through the case questions and said they should respond ‘no’ when asked if Sanderson was at fault and ‘yes’ to a question asking if Paltrow is.
An unimpressed Paltrow could be seen mouthing ‘yes, he did’ while Buhler was arguing that ‘Terry Sanderson did not hit her from behind.’
While dad-of-three Sanderson says the actress skied into him while emitting what he described as ‘the best hysterical scream you’ve ever heard’, Paltrow says he crashed into her – causing her to lose half a day of skiing.
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Gwyneth Paltrow (far right) reacts during closing arguments in her ski crash trial Thursday as Terry Sanderson’s lawyer (center) told the jury that her version of the story was wrong
Paltrow, 50, who is being sued by Sanderson, gave a series of expressions during the closing arguments by Sanderson’s attorneys
Sitting with her legal team, Paltrow rolled her eyes and threw her hands up in the air
Sanderson’s attorney Robert Sykes kicked off closing arguments gushing about the actress and told the jury she ‘is not a liar’ and neither is his client, but ‘based on the evidence, she is wrong and Terry is correct’ when it comes to what happened the day of the ski crash in 2016.
Noting the case had been a ‘long, long’ one and thanking the jury for not ‘nodding off’ during what was at times dull testimony, Sykes said the jurors had three questions to answer.
He said: ‘There are three questions. Who hit who? Did it cause any damage? What about the damages?
‘Gwyneth Paltrow is not a liar. Terry Sanderson is not a liar. She’s a good mother, she loves her children. I think Gwyneth Paltrow believes it when she says Terry hit her in the back.
Sanderson’s lead attorney Lawrence Buhler guided jurors through the case questions and said they should respond ‘no’ when asked if Sanderson was at fault and ‘yes’ to a question asking if Paltrow is at fault
An unimpressed Paltrow could be seen mouthing ‘yes, he did’ while Buhler was arguing that ‘Terry Sanderson did not hit her from behind’
‘She’s not a liar and it’s a sincere belief. But a sincere belief doesn’t make it so. You have to make a decision based on the evidence you have heard.’
Sykes continued: ‘So often, people who are in these types of events hold a different viewpoint. We have nothing against Gwyneth’s viewpoint but based on the evidence, she is wrong and Terry is correct.’
He said it was unlikely that Sanderson, an advanced skier, had been doing wide turns on a beginner run as there would be too many people.
Then, speaking about ‘the scream that has been heard around the world’, he told jurors – ‘that was Gwyneth Paltrow.’
Paltrow arrived early for the final day of trial at the Park City District Court dressed in a stealth-luxe navy coat, $278 Rayban aviator sunglasses, brown pants and matching chunky boots
Terry Sanderson, 76, who was forced to swap ties Wednesday after showing up in a happy face printed neckwear, opted for a more low key choice for the final day of court
Terry Sanderson’s attorney Robert Sykes kicked off closing arguments gushing about the actress and said she ‘is not a liar’ but added that his client Sanderson is also not a liar
He told the court the Goop guru had been distracted and looking at her children, who had been shouting ‘mommy, mommy, look at me’ according to testimony from Apple’s ski instructor Keri Oaks.
Sykes then showed extract from Paltrow’s deposition to jurors in which she said: ‘I can watch my children ski and still be skied directly into my back by someone which is what happened.’
He also referred to star witness Craig Ramon, who had previously testified in court.
Sykes said that Ramon, who had been due to return to the stand but didn’t after time ran out, had no reason to make up his account of the crash or falsify anything.
The attorney, who has repeatedly referred to himself as ‘a simple country lawyer’ throughout, went on to talk about the injuries Sanderson suffered – including broken ribs – and said the Deer Valley ski area and instructor Eric Christiansen had been complicit ‘in a cover-up’.
He described Christiansen’s post crash comment to Ramon that ‘your buddy took out Gwyneth Paltrow’ as ‘odd’ and said that’s the only reason his client knows Paltrow is involved.
Sykes said that Ramon, who had been due to return to the stand but didn’t after time ran out, had no reason to make up his account of the crash or falsify anything
Sykes said Sanderson had suffered the social, emotional and physical consequences of the smash for months afterwards and insisted that medical records bore that out
Paltrow arrives for court after a break as closing arguments were about to begin
Sykes said the extent of Sanderson’s head injury was clear from the start, when he was unable to ski after the crash and instead attempted to snow plow down the hill.
He said Sanderson had suffered the social, emotional and physical consequences of the smash for months afterwards and insisted that medical records bore that out.
Sanderson’s former girlfriend Carlene Davidson, and daughters Shae Herath and Polly Grasham’s testimony was also raised with Sykes telling jurors their testimony was evidence of the dramatic changes in the retiree’s personality.
The lawyer also emphasized expert testimony that Sanderson was not faking his injuries or ‘malingering’ in any way, and angrily pointed out that the defense inference he is suffering from dementia has been shown not to be true.
He concluded: ‘He never came home that night as the same Terry. Part of Terry will forever be on the Bandana run. He spent hours and hours trying to get better.
He is almost extreme in trying to get better. We hope you will help bring Terry home off that mountain today.’
This photo shows the ski run at Deer Valley Resort where the crash happened in 2016
Sanderson’s lead attorney Lawrence Buhler finished off the plaintiff’s closing argument with a speech about damages and said that his client is entitled to $3.3million
Sanderson’s lead attorney Lawrence Buhler finished off the plaintiff’s closing argument with a speech about damages, telling the jury: ‘You’re here for the truth told. They knew it was dangerous to ski while distracted. They knew someone could get hurt if they continued to do that. And they did it anyway.
‘Terry, there’s no doubt, suffered a concussion. Terry’s damages are his concussion that was persistent for more than a year and a half.’
He added: ‘The crash took much of what he had and left it on the mountain. 16 hours a day, Terry is dealing with his injuries. The brain injury is persistent to this day and will be with him until he dies.’
Buhler said Sanderson now has to battle daily problems like confusion, having to rely on other people and getting lost driving to the store, and then treated jurors to a lengthy look at the case questions.
He said they should respond ‘no’ when asked if Sanderson was at fault and ‘yes’ to a question asking if Paltrow is.
Buhler said: ‘Terry’s in the last years of his life. He has 10 years left according to what everyone says. He tries to pursue a healthy lifestyle. Every day, he has 16 hours of dealing with his brain injury, these persistent concussive symptoms that have caused all his problems.’
Finishing off, he suggested a damage amount of $3.27m for Sanderson – far in excess of the $300,000 he sued for – after noting he has had to deal with his brain injury 16 hours a day for seven years and will have to do it for at least another 10.
In a bizarre finale, he told the jury a ‘true story’ about a fictitious English king called Morgan who he said was responsible for the concept of jury law – when actually it’s origins actually lie in with King John and the Magna Carta.
Buhler then referred to British Prime Minister Winston Churchill as ‘English’ before concluding his case.
Court got off to a farcical start on Thursday with Sanderson’s legal team struggling to get Dr Richard Boehme on Zoom and then, after switching to audio, losing him within a few seconds
Paltrow’s lawyer Stephen Owens kicked off his closing argument by referring to Lady Justice, as he did in his opening statement, and joked about Sanderson’s Moroccan camel ride, telling the jury: ‘I would have liked a discount [from the damages] for that.’
He said: ‘It’s not a nice thing for somebody to set up a press conference and say she’s like King Kong who skied away.
‘It takes a lot of courage for her to sit there for two weeks and be pounded like a punching bag. What did she lose?
‘She was in love with Brad Falchuk, they dated for two years, they both had nine year old sons and 11 year old daughters. They put a lot of planning into that trip. So what happened?
‘They lost a half day of bonding and even more because now everyone’s stressed. They bond going up the ski lift, they bond having hot chocolate, they bond laughing round the fire that night.
‘They lost that because he hit her. He hurt her. And then he asked her for $3m for the pleasure. That’s not fair.’
Owens used his time on the stand to hammer Sanderson, telling the jury the retiree had owned a Go Pro but destroyed it after concluding the video on it wouldn’t help his case.
He referred to Sanderson’s youngest daughter Jenny, who said in her deposition her father would be ‘dishonest for money and notoriety’, and noted the optometrist’s own expert Dr Wendell Gibby had no idea of her existence.
Owens added: ‘He [Sanderson] hit her, he hurt her and he sued her. He’s not entitled to be rewarded for that.’
He laid into star witness Craig Ramon, describing him as ‘the definition of a bad witness’.
Sounding disgusted, he noted Eric Christiansen ‘who they accused of a cover-up’ heard and saw the same things as Ramon; implying Ramon did not really see the entire crash.
Owens questioned why, if Sanderson had been unconscious for two minutes, Ramon didn’t step into help – quipping: ‘Give me a break!’
Next he picked holes in Sanderson’s story, noting ‘the science does not work’ for what he claims happened.
One dramatic moment saw him thank Judge Kent Holmberg for not allowing Sanderson’s attorney Kristin Van Orman to insist the actress ‘reenact her assault’ in front of the jury.
Owens went on to show animations of the crash from Paltrow’s perspective for a second time, and noted the actress had been ‘p***ed off’.
He said the furious Paltrow had screamed ‘You just ran into my f***ing back!’, adding: ‘And Moses heard it.’
The attorney dismissed the idea that Sanderson had been knocked out, describing it as ‘not a believable story’.
Dr Richard Boehme, a neurologist, previously testified for Sanderson and said the only way the retiree could have acquired four broken ribs was for Paltrow to hit him and then land on him
Referring to Newton’s Law and showing equations, he said: ‘Something had to fall on top of him to cause those ribs to fracture in an otherwise healthy male’
Concluding, he noted Sanderson is ‘a poster boy for fitness at 75’ and referred again to the retiree’s initial financial claim, saying ‘You don’t drop a $3m bombshell in the courtroom, call her King Kong and walk away. You don’t do that.’
Before the jury was sent out to deliberate, Paltrow’s other lawyer James Egan returned to the stand to poke more holes in Ramon’s testimony – noting that a Ski Patrol report did not list him as a witness.
Egan disputed whether Sanderson suffered concussion and said the jury can only award damages that relate to the broken ribs and the initial injuries should they find Paltrow to be at fault for the crash.
He also said the conditions Sanderson has are not the fault of Paltrow but something that has gone on for years before and after the collision.
Rounding out his argument, Egan said ‘you have careful argument on one hand and extreme exaggeration on the other.’
He added: ‘Mr Sanderson said the collision left him a ‘recluse’ – he has traveled more than most people do in a lifetime.
‘Mr Sanderson is asking to be compensated for a ski injury that evidence shows he caused.’
Owens went on to show animations of the crash from Paltrow’s perspective for a second time, and noted the actress had been ‘p***ed off’
The attorney dismissed the idea that Sanderson had been knocked out, describing it as ‘not a believable story’
Before jurors was sent out to deliberate, Paltrow’s other lawyer James Egan attempted to poke more holes in Ramon’s testimony noting that a Ski Patrol report did not list him as a witness
Rebutting the defense case on behalf of Sanderson, attorney Peter Sorensen said: ‘There are two stories here. One is Gwyneth Paltrow’s. But there’s another side and that is Terry Sanderson’s.
‘The two stories that are important to remember are Gwyneth Paltrow’s and Terry Sanderson’s. I will tell you that what you see in the record, corroborates Terry Sanderson’s.
Sorensen claimed Brad Falchuk’s account, had he appeared, would have contradicted Paltrow’s account because he did not see the accident.
He noted there was testimony Falchuk was on the mountain but like Keri Oaks, the producer was left out of the defense’s elaborate animations.
Sorensen finished off by saying: ‘This is a very real situation for two people. The two people involved in this.
‘They pointed the finger at Terry Sanderson and said it’s your fault. We invite you now to weigh the evidence and trust you will weigh the evidence properly as you’ve heard it and find for Terry Sanderson.’
Rebutting the defense on behalf of Sanderson, attorney Peter Sorensen said: ‘There are two stories here. One is Gwyneth Paltrow’s. But there’s another side and that is Terry Sanderson’s’
Paltrow looked unimpressed as closing arguments continued on Thursday
Court got off to a farcical start earlier on Thursday with Sanderson’s legal team struggling to get Dr Richard Boehme on Zoom and then, after switching to phone audio, losing him within the first few seconds.
Two attempts to call the expert back resulted in the call going to voicemail before he was finally patched into court on the third attempt.
Dr Boehme, a neurologist, previously testified for Sanderson and said the only way the retiree could have acquired four broken ribs was for Paltrow to hit him and then land on him.
Despite objections from Paltrow’s lawyer Stephen Owens who complained to Judge Kent Holmberg about the time the tech issues were taking up, Dr Boehme was allowed to testify and doubled down on his previous comments.
Describing the impact of Paltrow landing on Sanderson as a ‘traumatic event’, Dr Boehme said the retiree’s rib fractures were the direct result of the actress skiing into him.
Referring to Newton’s Law, he said: ‘Something had to fall on top of him to cause those ribs to fracture in an otherwise healthy male. Any human weighing greater than 100lbs falling on Mr Sanderson would qualify as a traumatic event.
‘The only other way he could have broken ribs, if you consider him striking Miss Paltrow from behind, you would have to create a rotational force. For him to ski into Miss Paltrow, he would have to rotate 180 degrees and hit the ground within half a second.
‘In order for her to rotate around with Mr Sanderson, he has to grab her and they have to fall in a twisted fashion with her landing on top of her.’
Dr Boehme added: ‘Had the rib fractures not occurred, no one would be able to do this analysis, period. And that’s all I have to say about it.’
In another bizarre moment, Dr Boehme joked with Paltrow’s lawyer Egan, telling him he was in a hurry for cross-examination to end so he could make a lunch ‘because I’m on vacation’
A restless crowd in the gallery look on as testimony continues before closing arguments
In another bizarre moment, Dr Boehme joked with Paltrow’s lawyer James Egan, telling him he was in a hurry for cross-examination to end so he could make a planned lunch ‘because I’m on vacation.’
Sanderson suffered a setback at the end of Dr Boehme’s testimony when Egan asked the expert if he knew the retiree said he he had gone ‘airborne’ when Paltrow hit him.
Asked by Sanderson’s lawyer Lawrence Buhler if it was possible, Dr Boehme replied: ‘No – the person who hit would have had to have been going 50 or 60mph and that is highly unlikely.’
Earlier Thursday, both Sanderson and Paltrow arrived early for the final day of the trial at the Park City District Court in Park City, Utah, with the Goop boss dressed in a stealth-luxe navy coat, $278 Rayban aviator sunglasses, brown pants and matching chunky boots.
Sanderson, who was forced to swap ties Wednesday after showing up in a happy face printed neckwear, opted for a more low key choice for the final day of court.
Other witnesses for Sanderson are expected to take the stand – one being Craig Ramon, 48 – his friend and the only person to see the crash.
Sanderson testified Friday that he had continued to pursue damages seven years after the accident because the cascading events that followed – his post-concussion symptoms and the accusation that he sued to exploit Paltrow’s celebrity – added insult to injury.
Yesterday, court heard from a string of medical experts called by the defense, all of whom said Sanderson’s brain trauma was unlikely to have been caused by the 2016 crash.
Paltrow’s ski crash trial could be decided as soon as this afternoon, with final arguments set to be made this morning before the jury is sent out to deliberate
Sanderson’s attorneys are expected to begin on Thursday morning by recalling their medical experts to rebut claims made by Paltrow’s
Terry Sanderson, 76, who is suing Gwyneth Paltrow over a ski crash, arrived at the Park City courtroom on Wednesday wearing a brightly-colored tie with garish smiley faces on it, but later swapped it out for one with a more subtle print, as he prepared to take the witness stand
Neurologist Dr Robert Hoesch told court Sanderson’s symptoms – which include confusion and personality changes – are not due to the ski crash but underlying conditions
Dr Angela Eastvold, a neuropsychologist and concussion expert who has reviewed Sanderson’s medical history, said she does not believe Sanderson suffered anything more than a mild concussion and any continuing symptoms can be explained by other conditions
One, neurologist Dr Robert Hoesch, even told jurors that Sanderson’s symptoms were the result of the court battle itself, saying: ‘My job is to help the patient and family gain acceptance that this mild event seven years ago isn’t causing all these problems that he’s having now.
He added: ‘Suing somebody, going through a trial, a trial that has national recognition, can bring on a lot of anxiety and if you’re prone to that, it’s going to make it worse and it’s going to slow your recovery.‘
But the most dramatic moment of the day came at the end when Sanderson took the stand himself, only to be confronted by a stack of photos of himself on vacation after the crash – a time period in which he says he was crippled by debilitating post-concussive syndrome and had become a ‘recluse’.
Rattling off a string of destinations, Paltrow’s attorney Stephen Owens showed the court photos of the 76-year-old riding a camel in Morocco, at Machu Picchu in Peru and attending an auto-show in Frankfurt.
In bizarre testimony on Wednesday, Sanderson compared Paltrow to convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein after he said she needed to to be held ‘accountable’ for the crash
Paltrow gives a stunned look at Sanderson before looking over at her attorney who called the testimony ‘ridiculous.’ The judge then told the jury to disregard Sanderson’s words
In cross examination, Sanderson compared Paltrow to Epstein when asked if he regretted pursuing the lawsuit, leaving Owens furious and calling it ‘ridiculous testimony’ while the actress looked stunned.
Sanderson said: ‘Well that’s the purpose, I think. It’s to make me regret this lawsuit and that’s the pain of suing a celebrity. It’s just very difficult. I will tell everyone, you’re gonna get exposed.’
In a reference to Epstein’s infamous Caribbean island, he added: ‘This is obviously an issue that someone needs to be accountable for and if they’re never accountable, what are they going to do?
‘They’re going to do it again. Now we have the molesting of children on an island.’
A flabbergasted Paltrow looked over at her attorney who called Sanderson’s testimony ‘ridiculous.’ The judge then told the jury to disregard Sanderson’s words.
Along with Sanderson, the court has previously heard from Paltrow as well as her two children with Coldplay singer Chris Martin.
Apple, 18, and Moses, 16, said their mother had been left ‘frantic’ by the crash and was forced to stop skiing after the accident – instead taking herself to the spa at Deer Valley’s Montage hotel for a massage.
Apple said: ‘This A-hole ran into me. He ran right into my back… [She] was clearly visibly upset and she had a little bit of pain… that’s why she went to the spa to get a massage.’
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
Paltrow’s account of the collision with Terry Sanderson was shown in an animated reconstruction as the defense claims he was actually the one who hit the actress from behind
Among the most bombshell testimony has been from Paltrow and Sanderson. On Friday members of the jury were riveted when Paltrow said on the stand that she initially thought she was being ‘violated’ when the collision began.
Three days later Sanderson gave an entirely different account, saying she ran into him and sent him ‘absolutely flying.’
The trial has also shone a spotlight on Park City, known primarily as a ski resort that welcomes celebrities like Paltrow for each year’s Sundance Film Festival.
Local residents have increasingly filled the courtroom gallery throughout the trial. They’ve nodded along as lawyers and witnesses have referenced local landmarks like Montage Deer Valley, the ski-side hotel-spa where Paltrow got a massage after the collision.
At times they have appeared captivated by Paltrow’s reactions to the proceedings, while at others they have mirrored the jury, whose endurance has been tested by hours of jargon-dense medical testimony.
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