Cuba Gooding Jr could owe millions over rape accuser’s lawsuit

30 July 2021, 19:24

Cuba Gooding Jr
The Olivier Awards 2018 – London. Picture: PA

A judge said that under the law, the 53-year-old’s failure to respond and defend himself in the lawsuit constituted an admission of liability.

Actor Cuba Gooding Jr could face owing millions of dollars in damages after failing to respond to a lawsuit that accused him of raping a woman in New York City in 2013.

US District Judge Paul Crotty issued a default judgment against Gooding on Thursday, saying it appeared the Oscar-winning Jerry Maguire star was wilfully ignoring the lawsuit and that waiting for him any longer would be unfair to his accuser.

Judge Crotty said that under the law, the 53-year-old’s failure to respond and defend himself in the lawsuit constituted an admission of liability.

The judge gave Gooding a final deadline of September 7 to participate in the case.

After that, the judge said, he will decide on damages.

The plaintiff in the lawsuit, identified in court papers as Jane Doe, alleged Gooding raped her without protection after meeting her at a Greenwich Village VIP lounge and luring her to his hotel room under false pretences.

She is seeking six million dollars (£4.3 million) in damages.

No lawyer was listed for Gooding in the federal court docket.

A message seeking comment was left with his lawyer in his New York City criminal case.

Lawyer Mark Heller, who represents Gooding in the criminal case, said the events alleged in the lawsuit “never took place” and suggested the plaintiff was somebody “looking for some glory to bask in the publicity and notoriety of Cuba Gooding Jr’s case”.

Citing case law, Judge Crotty said in his order on Thursday that he will invite both sides to argue over damages in court before deciding what Gooding owes.

Cuba Gooding Jr
Cuba Gooding Jr (Ian West/PA)

The accuser originally sued Gooding in August 2020.

The case was dismissed and then quickly reopened in March over a technical issue.

Gooding was served with court papers on April 22 and failed to respond to an initial May 13 deadline, Judge Crotty said in his order.

In his criminal case, being tried in state court in New York, Gooding is accused of violating three different women at three different Manhattan night spots in 2018 and 2019.

One of the women alleged Gooding pinched her buttocks. Another alleged he squeezed her breast.

Gooding has pleaded not guilty.

An October 18 hearing is scheduled to set a trial date.

By Press Association