Kevin Costner on lawsuit: “My name is at stake!

That’s why they say you have to be a shark! Kevin Costner was slapped with a lawsuit by Stephen Baldwin for more than $21 million in damages over shares in an oil-separating machine business.

Kevin Costner

Yesterday Kevin Costner appeared in a New Orleans district court to testify in his defence in a lawsuit filed against the star by fellow actor Stephen Baldwin.

The suit filed by Baldwin and friend Spyridon Contogouris claims that Costner and his partner, Patrick Smith, cheated them out of their share of an $18 million deal with BP (a British oil and gas company) for the purchase of oil-separating centrifuges after the 2010 Gulf of Mexico spill.

Wait, isn’t Costner an actor? What’s happening?

Why, yes, he is an Oscar-winning actor. But in 1995, Costner began development of oil-separating machines under Ocean Therapy Solutions, founded on a patent he purchased from the U.S. government. Baldwin and Contogouris claim they were excluded from a meeting with BP executive Doug Suttles on June 8, 2010, who agreed to pony out an $18 million deposit on a $52 million order of 32 oil-separating machines. Thus, they sold their 38 per cent of shares to another investor for a mere $1.9 million.

Now, of course, they come back with a vengeance. Baldwin and Contogouris are seeking more than $21 million in damages, while Costner is seeking damages in counterclaims.

“My name is at stake,” Costner told the jury. “I’m not just a person who opens doors.

“I came down mostly because of the legacy of the [oil cleanup] machine and because the Gulf was in trouble.”

The actor is set to continue his testimony today. This case smells like a law chronicle and will probably drag on. But it is a beautiful instance of celebrities suing each other outside of divorce or claims of defamation. Business is brutal, even if you’re a celebrity.

Stay tuned for more “exciting” developments on the judicial front. Godspeed!

Photo courtesy of Visual/WENN.com

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