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Kevin Costner has asked that a federal judge release him from a multimillion-dollar lawsuit over whether actor Stephen Baldwin and a business associate were tricked into giving up shares of a company that sold technology to clean up the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico left by a BP drilling rig.
As we reported in December, Baldwin and Spyridon Contogouris sued claiming more than $14 million in damages after they gave up on Ocean Therapies Solutions, a joint venture meant to market Costner’s technology that separated oil from water. The two claimed they divested their holdings upon word from some of the defendants that BP had failed to place an order, when in fact the company had leased 32 centrifugal oil separators to BP for an estimated $52 million. The plaintiffs claimed that the money that came from BP was used by Costner and one of his associates to buy Contogouris and Baldwin out of their interest in the venture.
In a motion filed earlier this month to dismiss claims against him, Costner argues that Baldwin and Contogouris have inadequately pled any allegations of how Costner himself contributed to the fraud.
According to a memorandum filed by Costner: “Plaintiffs fail to allege facts that attribute even a single untrue statement made by Costner, fail to allege facts from which the Court can infer that Costner intended to deceive or mislead the Plaintiffs, and fail to set forth any facts demonstrating that Plaintiffs actually relied on any false or misleading statement made by Costner.”
Costner says he never spoke to Baldwin and Contogouris about BP’s intent.
Instead, he points to the only statement in the complaint attributed to him — a statement given to lawmakers during a June 9, 2010 congressional hearing “indicat[ing] that BP had placed an order for a number of [Separator] units.”
Costner says that regardless of any misrepresentation given by others in the fold, his own true statement to Congress about a BP deal shows he wasn’t part of the alleged fraud. Costner adds that allegations about the source of money that was used to purchase OTS shares aren’t sufficient for purposes of stating a claim for relief.
The plaintiffs will soon have an opportunity to file their response to Costner’s brief.
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