The injuries sustained by a man who collided with Gwyneth Paltrow on a ski slope could not “plausibly” have been caused by him crashing into her, a US court has heard.
Retired optometrist Terry Sanderson showed “typical hallmarks” of a traumatic brain injury and “deteriorated abruptly” following the 2016 incident at the Deer Valley Resort in Utah.
The Oscar-nominated actor is being sued by Mr Sanderson for allegedly “slamming” into him from behind, leaving him unresponsive and with several broken ribs.
On the second day of the trial, taking place in Park City, Utah, jurors heard testimony from two medical experts, radiologist Dr Wendell Gibby and neurologist Dr Sam Goldstein.
Dr Gibby told the court that Mr Sanderson would have “protected himself” if he had been colliding with Ms Paltrow head on.
“I think it’s very unlikely that this would have been caused by Terry running into Gwyneth Paltrow,” he said.
“Based on the stated testimony of the defendant, of (witness) Craig Ramon, and the pattern of injuries that are present… what I believe happened was that he was struck from the left side and that forced him into the ground.
“The combined weight of the two individuals slamming into the ground caused the fracture and the head injury.
“I don’t think it would be plausible that if he were running into her he would have broken the ribs on the side of his chest – he likely would have had his arms extended, he would have protected himself. Had he been the person running into her, I don’t think he would have sustained these types of injuries.”
[ Gwyneth Paltrow ‘slammed’ into skier and ‘bolted’ without a word, US court told ]
Dr Gibby added that prior to the incident, Mr Sanderson had been “a very high-functioning, high-energy person”.
“But after his accident he deteriorated abruptly and many of the activities he was doing he stopped doing,” he told the court. “His personal interactions with his children and grandchildren suffered and he had trouble multi-tasking… Those are all typical hallmarks of someone who has had a traumatic brain injury.
“I think that the ability to function at a high level was lost for Terry… many of the things that gave him pleasure in life seem to have been abruptly diminished by this injury.”
Mr Goldstein said the incident had caused an “acute rapid downturn” in Mr Sanderson’s behaviour and functioning that had not stemmed from pre-existing medical issues.
“Were it not for that particular accident, the life he was living (prior)… would be the life he would still be living,” Mr Goldstein said.
“These previous vulnerabilities don’t explain the acute change and now the long-term change in his behaviour and functioning – this is an acute and rapid downturn.”
He added that Mr Sanderson was not “faking” his problems or “making a mountain out of a molehill”.
Ms Paltrow attended court in person on Wednesday.
During the first day of the trial, jurors heard from Mr Ramon, who had been skiing with Mr Sanderson and was present in the aftermath of the collision.
Mr Ramon said he had seen a skier, later identified as Ms Paltrow, “slam” into Mr Sanderson and later “bolt” down the hill without saying a word. He also said that a Deer Valley employee had arrived on the scene shortly after, who had told him “your buddy just took out Gwyneth Paltrow”.
Damages of up to $3.276 million are being sought in the case, said Lawrence Buhler, who is representing Ms Paltrow.
The actor, who was described by her legal team as a “conservative” skier, is counter-suing Mr Sanderson for one dollar, alleging that he was the one who crashed into her.
The trial continues. - AP