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A Utah Man Is Suing Gwyneth Paltrow For A "Hit-And-Run Ski Crash"

Terry Sanderson alleged that the Iron Man actor "skied out of control" and hit him in the back, causing a brain injury and four broken ribs.

Posted on January 30, 2019, at 11:46 a.m. ET

Leah Hogsten / The Salt Lake Tribune via AP and Thibault Camus / AP Photo

A Utah man is suing Gwyneth Paltrow for allegedly injuring him during a "hit-and-run ski crash" at the Deer Valley Resort in Park City in 2016.

In a lawsuit filed on Tuesday, Terry Sanderson, a 72-year-old retired optometrist, alleged that Paltrow "skied out of control," hitting his back and "knocking him down hard" and "knocking him out" while they were skiing on a green (beginner's) run known as Bandana.

Sanderson claimed that as a result of the ski collision, he endured a "permanent traumatic brain injury, four broken ribs, pain, suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, emotional distress and disfigurement."

He is seeking more than $3.1 million in damages from Paltrow, Deer Valley Ski Resort, and one of its ski instructors, Eric Christiansen.

A representative for Paltrow said in a statement to BuzzFeed News that the "lawsuit is completely without merit."

"Anyone who reads the facts will realize that," the statement said.

The representative added that Sanderson skied into Paltrow and that he waited three years to file the lawsuit because he had a weak case that no lawyer was willing to take. The representative suggested that the lawsuit was Sanderson's attempt to get a payout.

A spokesperson for Deer Valley Resort declined to comment on pending legal matters involving the resort and its guests.

Sanderson and his attorneys during Tuesday's press conference.
Leah Hogsten / AP

Sanderson and his attorneys during Tuesday's press conference.

In a press conference with his attorneys on Tuesday, Sanderson said that he had been skiing for over 30 years. He said that on Feb. 26, 2016, he was skiing on the beginner's run in Deer Valley for the first time, when he saw two huge signs that said "slow down."

Sanderson said he slowed down accordingly and then heard "this hysterical scream that you never hear on a ski run ... like King Kong came out of the jungle."

He said that Paltrow struck him in the back, knocked him down, and then landed on top of him.

Sanderson, who is 5'8" and weighs 160 pounds, said that he was worried about getting the woman fallen next to him "tangled up" in this as "she may not be able to handle this."

He said that that he went in and out of consciousness after the fall. He remembered feeling that his "ribs felt very sore" and his "brain felt like it was injected with novocaine."

Craig Ramon, Sanderson's acquaintance who claimed to have witnessed the crash while skiing with him, said in a recorded video statement that Paltrow hit Sanderson "perfectly in the back" and that it "looked like one person going down."

"She landed right on top of him, and then she slides off to the side," Ramon said.

Paltrow, who was skiing with Christiansen and a group of her family and friends, then got up, turned and skied away, leaving Sanderson face down in the snow, the lawsuit alleged.

Paltrow "didn't say a single word" during the entire encounter, Ramon said.

Christiansen allegedly screamed "What did you do?" at Sanderson, and then skied off without calling for help, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit said that Christiansen later falsely claimed on an official incident report that Paltrow did not cause the accident.

"Gwyneth Paltrow knew it was wrong to ski out of control too fast for her ability and distracted, but she did it anyway," the lawsuit said.

When a reporter asked Sanderson on Tuesday how a "petite" woman like Paltrow could seriously injure him, Sanderson said it was because "she had to be going much faster than [he] was."

"The velocity explains it," he said.

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