PARK CITY, Utah (ABC4) —ABC4 has the most extensive coverage of Day 2 of the trial where they are discussing the injuries a man allegedly received from being run over by Gwyneth Paltrow at Deer Valley Resort while skiing.
Gwyneth Paltrow was sued for allegedly slamming into a Utah resident, Dr. Terry Sanderson, 76, while skiing at Deer Valley Resort on Feb. 26, 2016. Sanderson said he suffered a brain injury, four broken ribs, and other serious injuries from the incident. The trial is happening in Park City, and Paltrow is present in the courtroom.
Sanderson accused her of skiing “out of control,” and hitting his back “knocking him down hard, knocking him out.” He is seeking 300,000 in damages.
However, Paltrow countersued accusing Sanderson of running into her, and using her celebrity status to get her to “pay him millions.” She is seeking the cost of her lawyer fees.
Third District Judge Kent R. Holmberg, with help of a jury, will decide the outcome of this case.
Day 1 of the trial was covered by ABC4 and included two witnesses’ testimonies regarding the incident. One witness, Craig Ramon, 50, an acquaintance of Sanderson, said he saw someone slam into Sanderson. He also stated he heard a ski instructor say, “Gwyneth Paltrow just took out your buddy.” However, Ramon later corrected his statement and stated that the ski instructor actually said, “Your buddy just took out Gwyneth Paltrow.”
Day 2 of the Gwyneth Paltrow Trial
March 22, 2023, 9 a.m.:
The trial begins with testimony from a Provo radiologist, Wendell Gibby, who studied the medical history of the man accusing Paltrow of causing permanent brain injuries in the 2016 collision. Paltrow’s attorneys cross-examined the doctor.
Before his testimony is heard, Paltrow’s attorneys included the following objections to the doctor’s testimony. They said that Gibby acknowledged that he did not review the 2009 MRI imaging taken of Sanderson’s brain. The Judge issued that any new opinions from Gibby on the 2009 MRI report will not be included.
Paltrow’s attorneys also said that Gibby also acknowledged his opinion about the cause of Sanderson’s persistent concussion is speculative, and the defense asked that he not speak on that opinion. The Judge said this will be addressed as the witness is questioned, and stopped if they find it speculative.
They also included that testimony containing information from the doctor’s trading of an fMRI scan of Sanderson’s brain sometime before the collision is met with the same scrutiny as the fMRI’s the day before. The Judge ruled that the fMRI may be allowed if he establishes liability for it first.
Paltrows Attorneys then brought up the concern of a new camera in the courtroom that pointed directly at Paltrow. They say said this is a violation of Holmberg’s decorum order, issued in February. They also said outside the courtroom, reported attempting to film Paltrow with “cameras in her face.” While decorum orders do not extend to the outside, Holmberg said he also believed it was a problem.
The judge then issued a recess for attorneys to speak to the witnesses regarding the fMRI, and to address the media coverage issues.
After the short recess, the Jury was invited into the courtroom.
March 22, 2023, 10 a.m.:
It starts with the Judge stating that any reporter aiming their camera at Paltrow’s face when a microphone is not being used, is against decorum and that the offending reporter will be asked to leave if they do.
Paltrow’s attorneys then object to a 3-dimensional head, with removable brain pieces, that was laid on their desk should not be used by the witness. They stated it was not included in the deposition, so it is an “untimely disclosure.” The Judge ruled that it was not disclosed in a timely manner, and cannot be used.
Gibby was called up to the stand to testify. Sanderson’s attorney asks Gibby about the fMRI, to which he describes the purpose of an fMRI. He also said that fMRI is used to compare traumatic brain injuries versus those who have normal brain function. The Judge found that the fMRI will be allowed to be discussed, as it fits the criteria for scientifically sound.
Gibby left the stand while the jury was ushered into the courtroom. He then took the stand again for his official expert testimony. He said he examined Sanderson’s medical records from before and after the skiing incident to give the court his opinion on whether or not Sanderson’s persistent concussion was caused by the incident.
In his testimony, he explained that an older person has a higher chance of suffering serious and lasting damage from a concussion. Sanderson was 69 at the time of the crash.
“[Sanderson] had been a very high-functioning, high-energy person, he was always, every day doing lots of things,” Gibby said. “But after his accident, he deteriorated abruptly.” Gibby also said that because of the injury, Sanderson’s relationships and friendships suffered because of the persistent concussion symptoms.
Gibby said that in his review of Sanderson’s previous medical records, and the medical records immediately following the incident. Gibby found that Sanderson suffered a serious concussion due to the incident.
Sanderson’s Attorneys then reviewed some written reports of skiers who witnessed the immediate aftermath of the incident. The first few reports he used to clarify that an incident did happen. To which Gibby replied that the incident was not in question, it was proven to the courts that there was a crash, and both parties reported they were injured.
He then goes through the report of another skier that was written three weeks later about the incident. It states that a witness told them a woman struck Sanderson from behind. The same witness was examined yesterday and said he saw someone slam into Sanderson, but the ski instructor who allegedly witnessed the event said the opposite.
Sanderson was given a CT scan and received imaging of his broken ribs. Gibby said the accident warranted a concussion, as was also proven in the CT scan. According to Gibby, the written reports show that the concussion was serious. He said that Sanderson’s concussion and broken ribs were caused by his hitting the ground during the collision.
Gibby said that the force of injury would be more if he had someone striking him and forcing him to the ground. He said the combination of those things would increase his likelihood of injury.
He includes that the rib x-rays of Sanderson show that the injuries that occurred would come from a substantial amount of force, as Sanderson had normal bone density. When Sanderson’s attorneys brought up the exhibit of the x-rays, they had cropped out the injury. Judge ordered a brief recess to sort out the exhibit.
March 22, 2023, 11 a.m.:
After a short recess, the court continued by showing the Court the updated exhibit of the x-rays of Sanderson’s ribs. Gibby then describes the fractured ribs and points out where the injury was.
“He had enough force to knock him unconscious, enough force to have persisting cranial symptoms that are documented on the record, and enough force to break four of the ribs on the right side of his chest,” Gibby said. “The rib fractures certainly corroborate that there was enough force to cause a head injury.”
Sanderson’s attorneys asked Gibby, “Do the rib fractures indicate that Sanderson was hit from the rear and side? And why?”
Gibby replied that based on his analysis of the x-rays and reports from the witness, who was there, he said it would be very unlikely that this would be caused by Sanderson running into Paltrow.
However, Gibby was interrupted mid-testimony by Paltrow’s attorneys and Sanderson’s attorneys going to talk with the Judge.
After they went back to their seats, Gibby was asked a new question, “what’s your opinion to how these injuries were caused?”
Gibby said because of the testimony of Craig Ramone, and based upon the pattern of injuries that were present, he believes Sanderson was struck from the left side, and that forced him into the ground. He said it was also said that Paltrow was on top of him at some point, so the weight of the two individuals slamming into the ground caused the fractures and the head injury.
March 22, 2023, 11:30 a.m.:
He said he does not 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 said that Sanderson would have likely had his arms extended, would have protected himself, and had his knees, arms, etc. in front of himself.
Gibby continued by explaining that Sanderson has suffered persistent issues due to the brain injury.
“Both in his ability to focus, his ability to perform tasks, his memory, and especially his interpersonal relationships, emotional stability, and anger management,” Gibby said. “[Sanderson] had not had those issues prior to the accident.”
He did include that while Sanderson’s daughter said that some of these have improved, he is not back to normal. Gibby said that with Sanderson’s age, and the timeline, it is unlikely he will regain his full capacity and go back to normal.
Gibby then responded to the testimonies of the doctors that were questioned on March 21, and specifically, he talks about Dr. Black’s opinion. Black reviewed the imaging and suggested there was evidence of multi-focal white matter disease, which according to Web MD is “the wearing away of tissue in the largest and deepest part of your brain that has a number of causes, including aging.”
Black also reportedly said Sanderson had atrophy of the brain. Gibby said he disagrees that there was much atrophy of the brain. Gibby said that the cortex of his brain is very well preserved for his age.
Gibby said Black also claimed that Sanderson had normal pressure hydrocephalus, which is a condition in which excess cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) builds up within the fluid-containing cavities or ventricles of the brain, according to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons. This would impact Sanderson’s cognitive abilities, similar to a concussion. Gibby said it is a clinical diagnosis and that Sanderson did not have any of the clinical symptoms associated with it, he did not have urinary problems, or problems being active.
While Gibby admitted that Sanderson had the medical signs that indicate normal pressure hydrocephalus, which symptoms he had for at least a decade. However, Gibby said he does not believe that they were the primary cause of his current symptoms.
Gibby included that Sanderson was already at risk for a brain injury because of those medical signs, and so the concussive symptoms were likely exacerbated by the presence of his condition but were still likely caused by the collision.
He admitted that Sanderson had medical conditions, including arthritis in his thumb, hearing loss, and vision impairment in his left eye. And that Sanderson had depression, but that the abrupt change in his behavior was sudden, right after the accident. Gibby said that he does not believe Sanderson’s current state could be fully due to his existing conditions.
Gibby then explains that Sanderson’s CT scan, taken the day after the accident, did not show acute trauma at the time. His MRI scans showed some white matter, which may have been related to some type of injury, but also could be from white matter disease, which most elderly people develop.
He said that to further figure out the state of the injury, they performed an fMRI scan. It has Sanderson doing puzzles, memory tests, spacial recognition, etc. while in the MRI scan to test his cognitive abilities. Gibby said that out of seven tests conducted, only one was abnormal; the matrix reasoning test. The matrix reasoning test is a puzzle-solving test where you’re using the two parts of your brain that are typically used for visualizing images and spacial recognition. Gibby said those are two common places in your brain that can be injured in a traumatic deceleration process.
Gibby said that while Sanderson was still within a normal range for capability in that area, it doesn’t mean he was not injured. He said he could be injured and go from very bright and very capable, to average.
He was asked if Sanderson may have been more sensitive than others, more prone to injury than others. And that’s why he had more injuries than the average person may have sustained. Gibby said that it’s too hard to define, as it was a traumatic injury, and many people don’t get better after accidents.
March 22, 2023, 12 p.m.:
Paltrow’s attorney got up to the stand to cross-examine Gibby. Paltrow’s attorney started by mentioning the letters Sanderson’s children wrote. Gibby had said that before the incident, Sanderson had a good relationship with his daughters.
However, Paltrow’s attorney brought the deposition of Sanderson’s youngest daughter Jenny, who testified that she did not feel loved or nurtured by her father growing up. Gibby said he did not read that deposition. Paltrow’s attorney continued that Jenny said “Sanderson was domineering and emotionally and verbally abusive to Jenny, and her mother.”
Gibby said he did not read that deposition, but that he did recall some testimony about Sanderson being angry with the man that was having an affair with his wife, but that it was atypical behavior of him.
Paltrow’s attorney continued asking if Gibby heard the testimony that Sanderson became frustrated when his expectations weren’t met referring to his children, and that he has always been easily frustrated, and quick to anger. Gibby said he did not hear that testimony.
Gibby was asked, did you hear that “His frustration was visible in his body language, and the way he would talk,” Paltrow’s attorney said. Gibby said no.
Paltrow’s attorney asked Gibby if he heard the testimony that Sanderson would not speak to his daughter Jenny for thirteen years, or if he heard that Sanderson was controlling and relentlessly tried to mold Jenny to be a certain way. Gibby again said no.
Gibby was asked if he heard the testimony that Sanderson was hyper-focused on success and compared his daughters to that standard in a painful way.
Gibby said he did read testimonies about Sanderson being focused, and “anal.” But he concluded he had not heard any of the negative comments from Jenny.
Paltrow’s attorney continued and asked Gibby if he heard that Jenny took breaks from Sanderson over the years because he often overstepped his boundaries.
The Judge then issued a break for lunch and asked the attorneys if they have any objections to testimony that they discovered tonight, and that they should try to notify him before the hearing tomorrow. The Judge said they can handle disputes about the witness early morning or during lunch, not wasting the time the Jury is present.
March 22, 2023, 1:30 p.m.:
Paltrow’s attorney resumed the cross-examination of Gibby. He asked if Gibby testified that due to the rib injury, he believed Sanderson was hit from the back and side, and that’s how he got those injuries.
Gibby said that there were two possibilities for how he received the injuries. He said the injury could have resulted from a direct blow to the ribs with a hard object, like a helmet, but that was not in the records. The other possibility, in Gibby’s opinion, is if Sanderson fell forward and sideways and struck the ground.
It was clarified that Gibby said it’s likely he received the injury due to him hitting the ground, or that his arm could have acted as a focal point as he hit the ground. He previously stated that he believed Sanderson received the injury from Paltrow hitting him in the side.
Later, however, Gibby reportedly described it as a glancing blow.