Hey, remember “Stephen Baldwin is suing Kevin Costner?” That was a neat headline, huh? Baldwin, known amongst his famous brothers as “bible-thumping talent vacuum,” had sued Kevin Costner, claiming Costner had cheating him out of millions by buying Baldwin out of their business venture without disclosing important information. Shortly after buying Baldwin out for $1.4 million, Costner got a $52 million order from BP for his oil-separating centerfuges. You’d think Stephen Baldwin would be used to earning table scraps while riding someone more famous’s coattails by now, but he promptly sued.
After a two-week trial, eight jurors deliberated for less than two hours before giving their decision in the lawsuit brought by Baldwin and his friend, Spyridon Contogouris.
“Spyridon Contogouris” is my favorite Misfits song. I think it’s the Halloween II b-side.
Contogouris and Baldwin sold their shares in Ocean Therapy Solutions for $1.4 million and $500,000, respectively. The company was marketing the oil-separating centrifuges.
Baldwin testified he would have held out for much more if he had known BP had committed to ordering 32 of them. Soon after they sold their shares, the oil giant made an $18 million deposit on a $52 million order.
Attorneys for Costner and Smith said Baldwin and Contogouris knew BP was preparing to order the machines when they walked away from the company rather than gamble for a more lucrative payout if BP signed a binding contract. At the time they sold their shares, BP only had signed a non-binding letter of intent, the defendants’ attorneys said.
[Baldwin's lawyer] Cobb questioned whether celebrity was a factor in the outcome “because I believe we proved our case and because the bigger celebrity won.”
Earlier Thursday, during the trial’s closing arguments, Cobb told jurors they probably see the case as a “bunch of rich people fighting over money I’ll never, ever see.” Cobb, however, said his clients deserved to be compensated for being lied to by Costner and business partner Patrick Smith and defrauded out of their fair share of the BP money.
“I had no idea the spider’s web of deception could be so pervasive and so hard to unravel,” Cobb said.
As if being Stephen Baldwin wasn’t already enough of a hurdle, he also hired a lawyer who uses terrible metaphors. “I had no idea a train wreck like this would be so hard to wear as a badge of honor,” he said later.
Costner and Baldwin were ordered by U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman to attend each day of the trial, which they heeded. The judge thanked them at the end of the trial. “I know that being here throughout the trial has been a great challenge for them,” Feldman said.
“Mr. Costner had to turn down multiple movie roles. Mr. Baldwin had to renege on several pancake luncheons.”
Costner had lost $20 million in an earlier effort to market the devices to the oil and gas industry, but Cobb said Costner and Smith each made $15 million off their investments in Ocean Therapy Solutions after the BP spill. BP deployed a few of the centrifuges on a barge in June 2010. The company capped the well the following month, and it was permanently sealed in September 2010.
Costner testified that he never saw Baldwin contribute anything to their company’s efforts to persuade BP to use the centrifuges. Baldwin testified that no one asked him to invest any capital or lobby BP but said he used his celebrity to market and promote the centrifuges while he also worked on a documentary about the nation’s worst offshore oil spill. [WashingtonPost]
The title of that documentary? You guessed it, Biodome 2. Also, Stephen Baldwin contributed with his celebrity, and eventually got a $1.4 million payout? My God, I hope he paid $6 million for those shares. I know, I know, Stephen Baldwin is low-hanging fruit, and it doesn’t take a big man to beat up on Stephen Baldwin. But to be fair, I only do it because he’s such a tumbling, tumbling dickweed.