Hollywood actors Stephen Baldwin and Kevin Costner are currently involved in a court case involving British Petroleum’s 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. As you’re probably aware, an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil drilling rig in the spring of 2010 led to the death of 11 workers and the release of almost 5 million barrels of oil.
While BP and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) used a variety of methods to reduce the flow of oil, few were successful. Eventually, BP dumped millions of gallons of Corexit, a specialized chemical used to disperse oil, directly into the Gulf of Mexico.
Both Costner and Baldwin are strong environmental advocates. Since Corexit can cause many problems for the environment, the actors were looking for effective ways to remove oil slicks without the use of chemicals. Costner and one of his business partners made arrangements to purchase specialized centrifuges that could mechanically remove oil contaminants from the water.
Costner solicited financial assistance from Baldwin and several others. Baldwin purchased a stake in the oil centrifuge firm. However, Baldwin later discovered that Costner had hidden key details about the oil centrifuge company from him and his partners. Because of this, Baldwin withdrew his entire stake in the joint firm in June 2010, unaware that Costner was on the verge of sealing a $52 million order with BP for the centrifuges. Baldwin and his unnamed associate are now suing Costner for $17 million in damages, claiming they were duped out of the multi-million dollar deal right when it would have become profitable.
The New York Daily News has more information on the details of this lawsuit, as do many other media outlets if you’re interested in learning more. While it can be difficult for many people to manage a legal case, there are a variety of professionals that can provide valuable assistance. For example, a Louisville business attorney can be a valuable asset for many companies and organizations going through partnership dissolutions.
Many details of this case haven’t come to light. However, it’s important to remember that one should always research a business venture before laying down a financial stake, and jurors will have to decide whether Costner deliberately deceived Baldwin or if Baldwin’s loss of the profits were caused through his own actions.
Update 6/15/2012: The jury on this case reached a verdict last evening rejecting Baldwin’s claims against Costner. Costner will not have to pay Baldwin any money, and Baldwin’s attorney says they are disappointed in the jury’s verdict but respect their decision.