Stephen Baldwin
Stephen Baldwin appears at court (Reuters)

Actor Stephen Baldwin has lost a $17m (£10.9) lawsuit against Kevin Costner over the BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

The star of the Usual Suspects and his business partner, Spyridon Contogouris, claimed that Costner and his business partner duped them out of millions over a contract to clean up the 2010 spill.

Baldwin and Contogouris claimed Costner and Patrick Smith tricked them into selling their shares in a company that marketed oil-separating centrifuges to BP before the oil company made an $18m investment. Costner and Smith kept their shares in the company

The claimants said the intended damages represented what they would have got if they had held on to their shares in Ocean Therapy Solutions. They told the court they would have held out for more money if they had been aware of the deal. Instead they sold their shares for $1.4m and $500,000 respectively a short time before the BP deal was made.

Lawyers representing Costner and Smith argued that they did not hide the deal from Baldwin and Contogouris. The claimants were aware that it was due to go ahead but chose not to gamble that BP would sign a contract binding them to the company, said the lawyers.

James Cobb, for Baldwin, said: "We're disappointed. We thought we proved rather convincingly that these two guys, Mr Costner and Mr Smith, defrauded us.

"The jury saw it a different way. I believe we proved our case [but] the bigger celebrity won."

Costner said after the ruling: "My name means more to me than money and that's why we didn't settle."

His lawyer, Wayne Lee, said Costner was sued only because he was famous and Baldwin and Contogouris believed he would "roll over and give in".