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$8.1 Million Judgment Overturned Against Kim Basinger

September 22, 1994 GMT

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ An $8.1 million judgment against Kim Basinger for backing out of a movie was overturned Thursday by an appeals court that ruled the jury received improper instructions.

The California Court of Appeals ruled that Superior Court Judge Judith Chirlin gave the jury ″prejudicially ambiguous″ instructions.

The judge never made clear whether Basinger or her production company, Mighty Wind, were liable for damages for breaking a contract with Main Line Pictures, the appeals court said.

The jury ended up awarding $8.1 million to Main Line, which produced ″Boxing Helena.″ The March 1993 ruling forced Basinger to file for bankruptcy.

Basinger said she backed out of a starring role in ″Boxing Helena″ because she didn’t like the nude scenes or the script in the film about a man who falls in love with a woman and cuts off her arms and legs so she can’t leave his home.

The appeals court ruling sends the case back to the state trial court for possible retrial.

″They can retry it, but it will cost them a bundle,″ said Basinger’s lawyer, Howard Weitzman.

The appeals court did not consider the evidence in the case or the size of the award.

Main Line lawyer Eric Landau had no comment on the ruling, saying he hadn’t read the decision. Main Line had not yet received the $8.1 million.

It was not immediately clear what effect the ruling would have on Basinger’s bankruptcy proceedings.

Earlier in the day, a tiny Georgia bank owned by Basinger brought $1.5 million at a bankruptcy sale.

When she filed for bankruptcy last year, Basinger contended that a house for which she paid $1.2 million was now worth only $600,000. She also said her gardener cost her $600 a month and that she spent thousands of dollars a month to take care of her dogs.

In another bad investment, a partnership that included Basinger paid about $20 million in 1989 for 1,700 acres of Braselton, near her hometown of Athens, Ga. The partnership took on heavy debt to buy the property, where she had planned to build a film and recording studio.

″Somehow it didn’t take off like they expected it to,″ said Ronald Durkin, the bankruptcy trustee. He said her interest in the partnership is now virtually worthless.

Basinger also had planned to sell her house, art, jewelry and other personal property.

Basinger has starred in the films ″9 1/2 Weeks,″ ″Batman,″ ’The Marrying Man,″ and a remake of ″The Getaway.″