When Oops Met Goop! Skier Laws Beyond Sanderson v. Paltrow
by Jacob R. Zissu
As a Utah trial comes to a close in the ski-injury case of optometrist Terry Sanderson versus actress and Goop founder Gwyneth Paltrow, it is worth remembering that special “rules of the road” apply to downhill slopes.
For example, in New York, General Obligations Law §§ 18-105, et seq. establishes a code of conduct for downhill skiers to minimize the risk of injury to persons engaged in the sport and to promote safety in the industry.
In particular, Subsection 4 provides that all skiers have a duty to “remain in constant control of speed and course at all times while skiing so as to avoid contact with … other skiers and passengers.”
Skiers must “yield to other skiers when entering a trail or starting downhill.” (Sub. 11.) Skiers must not “overtake another skier in such a manner as to cause contact with the skier being overtaken and to yield the right-of-way to the skier being overtaken.” (Sub. 9.) And skiers must not “willfully stop on any slope or trail where such stopping is likely to cause a collision with other skiers.” (Sub. 10.)
Not only is this the law in New York, it is just plain good advice. And, without weighing in on who is at fault in Utah, it is safe to say that if both Sanderson and Paltrow had followed these norms, neither would find themselves in a courtroom right now.
Jacob R. Zissu is an avid skier and New York attorney with the law firm Clausen Miller P.C.