November 3, 2008 / 9:26 PM / in 11 years

Keanu Reeves not liable for paparazzo injuries

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Actor Keanu Reeves was cleared on Monday of any liability for injuries a paparazzo claimed he suffered when he was struck by the actor’s car.

Actor Keanu Reeves attends the AFI Night at the Movie event at the Arclight theatre in Hollywood, California October 1, 2008. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

A Los Angeles jury deliberated for about an hour in the civil lawsuit brought by photographer Alison Silva against the “Matrix” star before clearing Reeves.

Silva claimed he was knocked to the ground and injured his wrist in March 2007 when he was trying to take pictures of Reeves leaving a house in his Porsche in the affluent Ranchos Palos Verdes area of Los Angeles.

Silva was seeking damages of about $640,800 for medical bills and past and future lost earnings.

Reeves, 44, testified last week that he did not knock the photographer down to avoid having his picture taken, saying the man stumbled and fell while walking backward from the car.

The civil trial followed a series of clashes in Los Angeles this past year between paparazzi and celebrities including rap star Kanye West, “300” star Gerard Butler and actors Matthew McConaughey and Pierce Brosnan.

Tensions have run so high that some Los Angeles city officials have considered new laws including a “personal safety zone” between celebrities and paparazzi.

Silva said he was taking pictures of Reeves after the actor visited his sister, who had an eating disorder.

Silva’s lawyer had told the jury that his client was a timid rather than an aggressive photographer that night.

But Reeves’ lawyer said Silva risked his own safety needlessly to try to get a picture.

“He was looking forward to making a lot of money that night from an image he thought he could sell,” lawyer Alfred Gerisch told the jury last week. “He threw caution to the wind, he threw out common sense.”

Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte

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