An expert witness on the stand in the Gwyneth Paltrow trial used Newton’s theory of gravity to explain why he believed the actress’s account of the Utah ski collision was more likely than her accuser’s.
Paltrow is in court fighting a lawsuit brought by Terry Sanderson, a 76-year-old retired optometrist seeking more than $300,000 (£250,000) over a 2016 crash that he says left him with broken ribs and years of lasting concussion symptoms.
On the sixth day of the trial on Tuesday, jurors were given a short physics lesson.
Dr Irving Scher, a biomechanical engineer, claimed that previous experts called by Mr Sanderson’s team had miscalculated parts of their analysis and that corrected velocity measurements meant Mr Sanderson’s injuries should have been “much worse” than were reported.
“Ms Paltrow’s version of events is consistent with the laws of physics in how people turn and rotate,” Dr Scher offered.
Rib fractures possible without crash
Her defence attorneys plan to use their witnesses to argue before the eight-member jury that Paltrow did not ski into Mr Sanderson and that he and his lawyers have exaggerated the extent of his injuries.
They have painted him as an “obsessed” man trying to exploit Paltrow’s wealth and celebrity, while Mr Sanderson denied these claims in court last week.
Dr Scher noted that even if Paltrow, 50, was not involved in the crash, Mr Sanderson could have suffered the same rib fractures from simply falling.
“Mr Sanderson can fall to the ground without Gwyneth Paltrow falling on him and sustain the rib fractures,” he said.
In an attempt to explain complicated physics, Dr Scher drew stick figures to show how Mr Sanderson and Paltrow would have been travelling that day and where their centres of gravity would have been.
He concluded that Paltrow’s version of events is “consistent with the laws of physics” while Mr Sanderson and friend and fellow skier Craig Ramone’s version does not make sense.
Paltrow’s attorneys are expected to call a series of experts and read depositions from her two teenage children on Tuesday, the first full day of the film star ‘s trial in which they have been able to call witnesses to make their case.