October 8, 2008

Lawyer seeks to exclude use of `Paparazzo,' `Paparazzi' from trial

A lawyer for a photographer suing actor Keanu Reeves for negligence wants a judge to forbid the actor's attorneys from using the words "paparazzo" and "paparazzi" at trial, saying the terms are prejudicial, court papers showed today.

Alison Silva says his earning ability and job prospects have been diminished because of injuries suffered March 19, 2007, according to the lawsuit filed Nov. 5 of that year.

Video shows Reeves stopped in black 1996 Porsche 911 Cabrio and trying to pull away from a photographer on Avenida Tranquila in Rancho Palos Verdes Estates.

Silva maintains Reeves drove negligently and hit him, but the actor claims that assertion is untrue and that the photographer tripped on his own feet, then fell.

"In recent years, and especially since the death of Princess Diana, the term "paparazzo" has received a negative connotation," Silva's lawyer, Joseph S. Farzam, states in court papers filed Tuesday. "More recently, there have been several altercations between celebrities and celebrity photographers that have triggered a great deal of negative press regarding (paparazzi) and their conduct."

Paparazzi is the plural version of paparazzo. Both refer to photographers who take pictures of celebrities. Farzam maintains the two words should be replaced instead by terms such as "celebrity photographer," "reporter" or "photo journalist."

In support of his motion, Farzam has attached to his court papers a history

of the word "paparazzi" according to Wikipedia and an article in The Insider in which singer Seal describes the paparazzi as "scum" and accuses journalists of "ruining his life."

Farzam said Reeves had just visited his sister, who was being treated for an eating disorder, and that Silva was waiting outside to take photographs of the 44-year-old star.

Farzam also wants to stop Reeves' attorneys from making any mention of Silva's default for non-payment of an auto-purchase agreement with Ford Motor Credit Co.

If defense attorneys are allowed to use the words "paparazzo" or "paparazzi" and make mention of the default judgment the result would be "absolutely fatal to (Silva's) case," Farzam's court papers state.

The trial is scheduled Oct. 27.

Reeves starred in "Street Kings," released in April, and also is featured with Jennifer Connelly in "The Day the Earth Stood Still," set to be in theaters in December.

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