LOS ANGELES - Keanu Reeves may have pulled off some daredevil stunts on-screen with a speeding bus, but a judge ruled Monday that his driving didn't warrant assault and battery claims by a photographer.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Elizabeth A. Grimes ruled that paparazzo Alison Silva cannot seek punitive damages against Reeves, whose films include "Speed" and "The Matrix."
Silva claimed he was struck by Reeves' Porsche while photographing the actor in March 2007, causing serious injuries. Reeves' attorneys argued in court documents that Silva placed his hand on the actor's car and tripped over his own feet.
Grimes ruled Monday that Reeves didn't act maliciously as he moved his car forward to leave a parking space in a residential area about 30 miles south of downtown Los Angeles.
"They offered no evidence that the car Mr. Reeves was driving touched Mr. Silva," said Reeves' attorney, Mark Williams. "We're confident that should this case go to a jury, they'll find in favor of Mr. Reeves."
Silva can still pursue a negligence claim, which Reeves did not contest. Silva's attorney, Joseph Farzam, said the ruling, while a setback, would not deter the case from going to trial in late October.
"Mr. Silva is still entitled to fully recover his damages for the injuries he sustained," Farzam said.
"It's much easier to prove that someone was being careless," Farzam said, "than to prove that Mr. Reeves intended to harm Mr. Silva."
Farzam said the fall to the pavement fractured Silva's wrist and that he has already undergone one unsuccessful surgery. Another surgery is scheduled, but Farzam said Silva could remain partially disabled even if it is successful.
In a signed declaration, Reeves said he stopped the car after Silva fell and brought the photographer water. He recounted Silva as saying, "I am a paparazzo. He is a movie star. It was an accident!" according to court documents.