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Utah judge rules ski collision with Gwyneth Paltrow was not a 'hit-and-run'

A Utah judge dismissed some claims filed by a retired optometrist against Gwyneth Paltrow after the two collided at a ski resort, ruling that it was not a "hit-and-run ski crash," as the lawsuit claimed. A claim that she negligently crashed into a man is still on the table.

A Utah judge dismissed some claims filed by a retired optometrist against Gwyneth Paltrow after the two collided at a ski resort, ruling that it was not a "hit-and-run ski crash," as the lawsuit claimed. A claim that she negligently crashed into a man is still on the table. (The Associated Press )



Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

PARK CITY — A Utah judge dismissed some claims filed by a retired optometrist against Gwyneth Paltrow after the two collided at a ski resort, ruling that it was not a "hit-and-run ski crash," as the lawsuit claimed.

Third District Judge Kent Holmberg heard arguments from Paltrow's attorneys asking for a summary judgment that would dismiss parts of the lawsuit, specifically claims that Paltrow negligently inflicted emotional distress and that Sanderson was entitled to punitive damages. The judge dismissed these claims in a court order on April 25.

Terry Sanderson filed the lawsuit in January 2019 against Gwyneth Paltrow, her ski instructor Eric Christiansen and the Deer Valley Resort Company. He claimed that a collision between himself and Paltrow occurred on Feb. 26, 2016, leaving him with a brain injury and four broken ribs.

Sanderson has claimed that he occasionally has "feelings of being unable to cope with life," though the recent order states he has made multiple international trips since the collision and frequently travels within the country, showing this has not been debilitating.

The order signed by the court explains that there is still a claim against Paltrow for "simple negligence" for her actions prior to the collision. The other claims against Christiansen and the resort, which were only regarding actions taken after the crash, have also been dismissed.

The recent order said a skiing expert told the court Paltrow's actions after the collision were reasonable and that she remained at the scene. A Deer Valley instructor verified that she stopped to give aid until everyone felt that Sanderson was not seriously injured. The order determined this and other evidence shows Paltrow reasonably believed leaving would not lead to further injury or emotional distress.

"No one with knowledge of Ms. Paltrow's post-collision actions claims to have observed Paltrow acting recklessly. Even when interpreted in the light most favorable to (Sanderson), the undisputed facts fail to support his claim that Paltrow's post-collision actions were likely to result in substantial harm, that they were highly unreasonable or an extreme departure from ordinary care, or that they came with an apparent and high degree of danger," the order states.

Sanderson is still seeking over $300,000 from Paltrow through the lawsuit, claiming that she negligently caused injury. Sanderson argues Paltrow should have yielded to him since he was further downhill, and could not see her coming.

Sanderson's attorneys claimed in their initial court filing that Paltrow skied away without saying a word to Sanderson, while a ski instructor with Paltrow's group told Sanderson the crash was his fault.

After filing the initial complaint, the retired optometrist, who lives in Utah but worked in Soda Springs, Idaho, said he initially reached out hoping for a settlement. When he didn't receive a response, he hoped to be "vindicated" through the lawsuit.

A trial is scheduled for the case in March 2023.

Because of a protective order, attorneys in the case said they are not able to comment.

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Emily Ashcraft joined KSL.com as a reporter in 2021. She covers courts and legal affairs, as well as health, faith and religion news.

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