By SAM METZ
PARK CITY, Utah (AP) — A neuropsychologist who treated the man suing Gwyneth Paltrow over a 2016 ski collision cast aspersions on the testimony of medical experts hired by the celebrity’s legal team — and argued that, as his personal doctor, she was better suited to speak about 76-year-old Terry Sanderson’s post-concussion symptoms.
“A lot of the experts are opining. I feel like I’m the best judge of what happened to him,” Dr. Alina Fong said.
Fong’s videotaped deposition was the first to be shown on the third day of the trial in Park City, the upscale Utah ski resort town where Sanderson accuses Paltrow of skiing so recklessly that she crashed into him, broke his ribs and left him with lasting brain damage.
Fong said that when she saw Sanderson less than a year after the accident, he had lost his love for life, and said that he was often dejected and crying. Under her care, she said that Sanderson worked tirelessly to rehabilitate the post-concussion symptoms — including pain, headaches and mood shifts. In cross-examination, she accused Paltrow’s attorneys of planting “red herrings” to mislead jurors. Fong said conclusions from Paltrow’s experts — who have yet to testify — were “easily refutable by just going online and looking at the CDC recommendations.”
Two of Sanderson’s daughters are also expected to testify on Thursday about the lasting effects of the crash as the third day of the trial takes on an increasingly emotional note.
Attorneys called Polly Grasham to the stand Thursday, and are expected to call Shae Herath to question them about health changes that their father claims he sustained after his collision with Paltrow.
Neurologist Richard Boehme and Paltrow herself could also be called to testify on either Thursday or Friday.
Sanderson is suing Paltrow for a minimum of $300,000, claiming she recklessly crashed into him while the two were skiing on a beginner run at Deer Valley Resort in Park City, Utah.
In a counterclaim, Paltrow is seeking $1 and attorney fees. The amount of money at stake for both sides pales in comparison to the typical legal costs of a multiyear lawsuit and expert witness-heavy trial. Sanderson’s attorney told the jury Thursday that this trial is about “value, not cost.”
During the first two days of trial, Sanderson’s attorneys and expert medical witnesses described how his injuries were likely caused by someone crashing into him from behind. They attributed noticeable changes in Sanderson’s mental acuity to injuries from that day.
Paltrow’s attorneys have tried to represent Sanderson as a 76-year-old whose decline followed a normal course of aging rather than the results of a crash. They have not yet called witnesses of their own to testify, but in opening statements previewed for jurors that they plan to call Paltrow’s husband Brad Falchuk and her two children, Moses and Apple, to the stand.
Paltrow’s team has previously accused Sanderson of suing to exploit their client’s wealth and celebrity. She is the Oscar-winning star of “Shakespeare in Love” and founder-CEO of the beauty and wellness company Goop.
Her legal team has thus far attempted to poke holes in testimony from Sanderson’s team of experts — and are expected to question his daughters about their father mentioning Paltrow’s fame, and an email alluding to footage recorded on a GoPro camera that hasn’t been found or included in evidence.