Kevin Costner and Ocean Therapy Solutions finally have their happy ending.
In the immediate aftermath of the 2010 Gulf oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the 57-year-old actor became an unlikely real-life hero after presenting centrifugal oil-water separator technology as a potential cleanup solution. Costner and a small team of engineers at his Ocean Therapy Solutions (OTS) had been developing the devices for more than 15 years — and at considerable expense. The star personally invested $20 million of his own cash in the company.
When BP signed on to purchase 32 of the machines, OTS suddenly became flush with cash and presented with promising business partnerships worth millions more. Everything Costner had worked on for more than a decade appeared to be paying off for the good of the planet and his investment.
That Hollywood ending took a bizarre turn when Stephen Baldwin filed a lawsuit against Costner and OST, claiming he had been fraudulently duped into selling his shares of the company right before BP entered the picture. Along with another jaded business partner, Baldwin was seeking more than $17 million in damages.
Yesterday, after a little less than two weeks, a federal jury dismissed Baldwin's claims and sided with Costner and Ocean Therapy Solutions. Reaching a verdict took a little less than two hours.
"My name means more to me than money and that's why we didn't settle," Costner told reporters after the verdict.
"We're disappointed. We thought we proved rather convincingly that these two guys, Mr. Costner and Mr. Smith, defrauded us," Baldwin's attorney, James Cobb, said. "The jury saw it a different way, but we respect the jury's verdict.
You can watch video of Costner and Cobb discussing the verdict below.