Gwyneth Paltrow is countersuing a man who accused the actress of a “hit and run” ski crash on the Utah slopes in 2016, saying he’s trying to exploit her fame and wealth.
Terry Sanderson, a retired optometrist, sued Paltrow last month for $3.1 million, claiming the Oscar winner plowed into him from behind and knocked him unconscious at the Deer Valley Resort in Park City, Utah. Sanderson, 72, alleges Paltrow was “skiing out of control” and describes the collision as a “hit and run,” according to The Associated Press.
Paltrow, in a countersuit filed Wednesday, contends she’s the real victim. She blames Sanderson for the crash and says he’s now trying to take advantage of her celebrity.
“This lawsuit is completely without merit,” a representative for the Goop founder told People in a statement. referring to Sanderson’s filing. “Anyone who reads the facts will realize that.”
Sanderson’s suit says Paltrow “got up, turned and skied away” after the accident, leaving him alone with a brain injury, short term memory loss, four broken ribs, and emotional distress.
Paltrow’s version is that Sanderson “plowed into her back” on a beginner slope as she skied with her two children. He hit her with a full body blow that left her “shaken and upset,” the “Iron Man” star’s lawsuit says.
“Ms. Paltrow was angry with Plaintiff, and said so. Plaintiff apologized,” her suit reads, according to ABC News. “She was shaken and upset, and quit skiing for the day even though it was still morning.”
The suit says Sanderson “demanded Ms. Paltrow pay him millions. If she did not pay, she would face negative publicity resulting from his allegations,” according to E! News.
Paltrow is seeking a symbolic $1 dollar in damages, plus her legal fees.
Sanderson claims a friend witnessed the collision. Paltrow points to a report filed by a Deer Valley ski instructor, who was monitoring her children at the time. The instructor, however, said he heard Paltrow scream and saw her hit the ground, but did not see what caused the collision.
Sanderson’s lawsuit also names the ski instructor, accusing him of filing a false report and violating a county ordinance that requires skiers to “immediately stop” and assist anyone hurt in a collision.
“And it even applies to celebrities, believe or not,” Sanderson’s attorney Robert Sykes said at a news conference last month. “It applies to Gwyneth Paltrow. … What Miss Paltrow did that day was knock Terry Sanderson down, pick herself up, dust herself off and ski off.”