Video runs up questions

A West Vancouver man who sued a driver for $30,000 after he was hit by a car crossing Taylor Way on foot has been handed a fraction of that amount after he was secretly videotaped jogging home from work downtown.

Adel Berenjian, 54, sued Andrew Primus, the driver, and his father -the vehicle owner - after he was hit by Primus in April 2006 while crossing Taylor Way at Keith Road on a walk signal. Berenjian sued for $30,000, saying the accident left him with injuries to his neck and back and caused numerous visits to a chiropractor.

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The defendants disputed that, arguing in court Berenjian's injuries were "so minor as to amount to virtually nothing," according to court documents. To prove their case, they hired a private investigator, who videotaped Berenjian within a month of the accident jogging 70 minutes from his work place in downtown Vancouver to his home in West Vancouver, stopping to do pushups along the way.

In response, Berenjian told the judge he forced himself to run those distances "even though he was in considerable pain" because "he has a deep-seated commitment to physical exercise." Berenjian added he wasn't jogging, only "walking quickly."

Those explanations weren't enough to convince an orthopedic surgeon who - after watching the videos - testified that Berenjian could not have been significantly injured. "There is a large proportion of the population that would not be able to perform this length of run over the grades encountered even 100 percent healthy," he told the judge.

B.C. Supreme Court Justice James Williams agreed, saying he was "concerned with the veracity of the plaintiff's claims regarding the extent, severity and effect of the injuries he suffered." Williams added the video was "quite strikingly at odds" with Berenjian's description of his injuries. The judge awarded him $4,000 plus $500 for the cost of chiropractor visits.

Last year, a different B.C. Supreme Court judge awarded a West Vancouver woman more than $238,000 for injuries suffered when her minivan was rear-ended - even though she continued to run marathons after the accident.

jseyd@nsnews.com

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