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Split Decision in Cussler/Anschutz Trial

After three long, arduous, agonizing months of trial, a verdict has been reached in the Clive Cussler vs. Philip Anschutz battle. And as the LA Times’ Kim Christensen and Glenn Bunting report, both men claimed victory Tuesday, but neither walked away with the huge financial win he’d sought.

A Los Angeles Superior Court jury found that Cussler breached his contract with the producers of the 2005 adventure film “Sahara,” awarding Anschutz’s Crusader Entertainment $5 million. But jurors also deemed that Crusader, now called Bristol Bay Productions, should pay Cussler about $8.5 million the author said he was owed for a second novel in his Dirk Pitt series that was never made into a movie. “I’m greatly relieved it’s over,” Cussler, 75, said outside the courtroom Tuesday. “I think I’m happy just to go home and take up my life again. We’ve been here for four months.”

But Anschutz’s camp is equally happy. “We consider it a great victory,” attorney Melvin Putnam said to Variety. He added that the disparity between the findings of misrepresentation and the damages would make him consider an appeal, particularly if the court finds Cussler is owed for the second book. And as for Cussler, he’s out of the film business for good. “There won’t be another Clive Cussler film, at least not during my lifetime,” he said.

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