Thursday, June 14, 2012

Costner Beats Baldwin Re Oil Clean Up Technology

A U.S. jury ruled on Thursday in favor of actor Kevin Costner in a lawsuit in which fellow actor Stephen Baldwin accused him of cheating in a multimillion-dollar deal to sell oil cleanup devices to BP after the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.  The federal lawsuit brought against Costner by Baldwin and business partner Spyridon C. Contogouris claimed Costner cheated them by hiding details of a deal with BP before they sold their stake in the company marketing the oil-cleaning devices.

Baldwin and Contogouris had sought about $17 million from Costner and his business partner, Patrick Smith. The jury, which deliberated for less than two hours, made no award of damages.
Costner's attorneys argued that Baldwin and Contogouris were not entitled to any payments because they sold their shares in the company before the deal with BP was sealed.

Plaintiffs' attorney James Cobb had repeatedly accused Costner and Smith of lying about the nature of his communication with BP executives before they sealed the deal.

In the deal, BP agreed to make an $18 million deposit for the $52 million order for 32 oil and water separation devices. Baldwin and Contogouris claim they were duped out of part of BP's $18 million deposit.

Both actors once invested in Ocean Therapy Solutions, the company that acquired the rights to sell the oil-separating centrifuges. Baldwin said he was a major force in promoting the devices, which he hoped to showcase in a documentary about the April 20, 2010, Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, the worst U.S. offshore oil spill.
BP never used the oil separators because the company sealed the blown-out Macondo well before they could be delivered.  The case is Contogouris et al v. WestPac Resources, LLC et al, U.S. District Court for Eastern District of Louisiana, No. 2:10-cv-04609.  (MSNBC)

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Hollywood Science

Hollywood writers and directors are turning to scientists to make their fantasies more plausible. That’s thanks to the Science and Entertainment Exchange, which launched in Los Angeles in 2008 with a $1.1 million grant from the National Academy of Sciences. With 800 scientists on its roster, the exchange has arranged nearly 500 consultations between California creative types and scientists.

The Science & Entertainment Exchange is a program of the National Academy of Sciences that connects entertainment industry professionals with top scientists and engineers to create a synergy between accurate science and engaging storylines in both film and TV programming.  In April, 2012, The Exchange celebrated its 450th consult. Past consults include films such as Apollo 18, The Avengers, Dr. Strange, Green Lantern, Iron Man 2, Thor, and Tron: Legacy, among others, as well as hit television programs like Castle, Covert Affairs, Fringe, The Good Wife, House, Lost and more.

The National Academy of Sciences is an honorific society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, which — under its Congressional charter — provides advice to the Nation on science and technology.  (Wash Post, 6/8/2012)

Monday, June 4, 2012

Kevin Costner & Stephen Fight Over BP Deal

Kevin Costner’s attorney claims his client’s fame is the only reason why a fellow actor, Stephen Baldwin, sued him over their investments in a device used to try to clean up BP’s oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

A trial opened Monday for Baldwin’s claims that Costner and business partner Patrick Smith duped him and a friend out of their shares of an $18 million deal for BP to buy oil-separating centrifuges after the April 2010 spill.

During opening statements, Costner’s attorney said his client played no role in Baldwin’s decision to sell his shares in a company that marketed the centrifuges to BP for $1.4 million. Baldwin’s lawyer told jurors that Costner and Smith spun a web of lies that cheated his client out of millions of dollars. (Wash Post 6/4/2012)