Deer Valley, Gwyneth Paltrow deny allegations in lawsuit stemming from skiing crash
February 21, 2019
Deer Valley Resort is asking a judge to throw out a complaint in a high-profile lawsuit alleging wrongdoing related to a skiing crash involving actress Gwyneth Paltrow.
Deer Valley on Tuesday filed a motion to dismiss the complaint. The lawsuit, filed in January by a man named Terry Sanderson, claims Paltrow severely injured him in an on-mountain collision in February of 2016, and that a resort ski instructor and two other Deer Valley employees failed to assist him after the incident.
In a court filing, Deer Valley argues the claim against the resort, for negligent infliction of emotional distress, should be tossed because Sanderson's lawsuit doesn't accuse the resort of placing him at risk of physical harm. Deer Valley also alleges Sanderson signed a form acknowledging ski patrollers helped him after the collision and transported him to a medical clinic.
“In this case, a recreational skiing accident that Plaintiff waited nearly three years to sue on simply does not constitute an event that renders a ‘reasonable person unable to cope with his daily life,’ the filing states.
Deer Valley also asserts that Utah's Inherent Risk of Skiing Act protects the resort from liability involving on-mountain collisions.
Deer Valley spokeswoman Emily Summers previously indicated the resort doesn't comment on pending litigation.
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Paltrow, an actress known for performances in a number of Hollywood films, also fired back at the lawsuit, alleging in a counter claim Wednesday it was actually Sanderson who caused the crash. The court filing states Sanderson hit her from behind in a full "body blow." Sanderson apologized and said he had not seen Paltrow, but the actress, shaken, quit skiing for the day, according to the filing.
The Deer Valley ski instructor, Eric Christiansen, indicated in an incident report that Sanderson admitted to causing the crash, the counter claim states. Sanderson's lawsuit alleges Christiansen falsified a report to protect Paltrow, which Deer Valley denies in its court filing. Christiansen is listed as a co-defendant in the suit.
Sanderson previously told reporters he doesn't remember the crash due to brain injuries he claims to have sustained during the incident, instead basing the allegations on the account of another man who was skiing with him. Paltrow's counter claim argues the other man admitted to being at least 40 feet away from the incident.
Paltrow's filing accuses Sanderson of attempting to "exploit her celebrity and wealth." Sanderson is seeking damages of more than $3.1 million but has denied suing Paltrow because of her fame. He claims it took him nearly three years to file the lawsuit because of health issues and problems retaining legal representation.
The actress is seeking to recoup her attorney's fees, as well as "symbolic" damages of $1 for minor injuries she received in the crash, according to the court filing.