In the New Orleans courtroom clash of Hollywood actors, Kevin Costner is the winner.
A federal jury this evening rejected a claim by the actor Stephen Baldwin and his friend, Spyridon Contogouris, that Costner and a business partner duped them by keeping them uninformed on a multimillion-dollar deal between Costner's company, Ocean Therapy Solutions, and the oil company BP.
Baldwin and Contogouris sold their shares in Ocean Therapy Solutions before it sold cleanup devices to BP for use in the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
The pair's lawyer had asked the jury to award them $17 million in damages, according to The Associated Press. But after less than two hours of deliberations, the jury awarded Baldwin and Contogouris nothing.
Costner smiled and shook his attorney's hand after the verdict, later saying, according to AP, "My name means more to me than money and that's why we didn't settle."
Baldwin's attorney, James Cobb, said, "We're disappointed. We thought we proved rather convincingly that these two guys, Mr. Costner and [his business partner, Patrick] Smith, defrauded us. ... The jury saw it a different way but we respect the jury's verdict."
Baldwin, the youngest of the four acting Baldwin brothers, filed a suit in December 2010 against Costner and Smith, over profits from the technology that BP leased for the Deepwater Horizon spill.
Costner's device is a five-ton centrifuge designed to separate water from oil, spit out clean water and save the oil on ships, Smith said in his testimony.
The timeline of the case goes as far back as the production for Costner's film "Waterworld." Costner starred and co-directed the science-fiction film, which tanked at the box office when it was released in 1995.
In the early 1990s, Costner financed and oversaw the development of an oil-and-water-separation technology under the auspices of a corporation owned and managed by him called CINC Inc., an acronym for Costner in Nevada Corporation.
After the April 2010 oil spill, Costner made headlines again marketing his device and snagging a $52 million deal with BP for 32 of his centrifuges.
"It separates oil and water at incredibly high speeds under very difficult conditions," Costner told "Good Morning America's" Sam Champion in 2010.
The devices weren't used to cap the well but were designed to collect oil on the water's surface.
Baldwin has said he was bought out of Costner's company for $500,000 while Contogouris was bought out for $1.4 million.
BP reportedly never used the 32 devices it ordered from Costner's company, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. By September 2010, the well had been sealed with cement and a relief well.
Costner's memorable work includes starring in "The Bodyguard," "Dancing with Wolves" and "Field of Dreams." Baldwin, the younger brother of actor Alec Baldwin, is best known for "Bio-Dome" and playing Barney Rubble in "The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas."
The Associated Press and ABC News' Barbara Garcia, Matt Gutman and Sheila Marikar contributed to this report.
- Stephen Baldwin
- Ocean Therapy Solutions
- Ocean Therapy Solutions