SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah ski resort where actress Gwyneth Paltrow is accused of smashing into a skier was denied its request Wednesday to be dismissed from a lawsuit that it argued should be settled between the actress and the alleged victim.
The alleged behaviour of a Deer Valley Resort ski instructor who the victim says berated him and didn’t call ski patrol for help “doesn’t qualify as an inherent risk of skiing,” Judge Kent Holmberg said in a written decision.
Attorney Adam Strachan, representing the well-known resort in Park City, Utah, argued during a June hearing that Deer Valley was shielded from responsibilities for skiing collisions under a law that takes into account the inherent dangers of skiing.
Attorneys for the alleged victim, retired optometrist Terry Sanderson, say he suffered severe emotional distress after an instructor with Paltrow skied up to him on Feb. 26, 2016, and yelled at him as he lay face-down in the snow, having suffered a concussion after Paltrow slammed into him.
“The court is not persuaded that the behaviour allegedly encountered by Sanderson is the type of risk that a skier would reasonably expect to encounter when skiing,” Holmberg wrote.
The decision means the resort will remain a defendant along with Paltrow in the pending lawsuit.
Strachan didn’t immediately have comment about the decision.
Paltrow said in a counter claim filed earlier this year that Sanderson was actually the one who plowed into her from behind, and that he is trying to exploit her celebrity and wealth.
Sanderson’s lawsuit seeks $3.1 million in damages, but he denies he’s suing because Paltrow is a celebrity. He has said previously that it took him nearly three years to file a lawsuit because he ran into problems with previous attorneys and was dealing with an inability to function properly because of the concussion.
Paltrow, known for “Shakespeare in Love,” the “Iron Man” movies and her lifestyle company named goop, said her injuries were minor and that she is seeking “symbolic damages” of $1 plus costs for her lawyers’ fees. She said Sanderson made a “meritless claim.”
Brady McCombs, The Associated Press