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Cuba Gooding, Jr. loses groping lawsuit by default

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Cuba Gooding, Jr.

A female bartender who accused Cuba Gooding, Jr. of groping her has been awarded a default judgement against the embattled star.

Natasha Ashworth launched legal action in late 2019, claiming she was working at TAO Downtown Nightclub in New York in October, 2018, when Cuba made an inappropriate joke about a penis and later reportedly grabbed her behind.

She confronted the actor, who insisted he touched her lower back, and when Ashworth suggested he should leave, he is said to have replied, “You don’t have to worry, because I am never coming back here again.”

She sued for assault, battery, and intentional infliction of emotional distress, but Gooding, Jr.’s criminal defence attorney Mark Heller dismissed the claims as “baseless”.

However, it appears the actor failed to assign a civil attorney to formally respond to the case, and in January, Ashworth requested a default judgement to settle the suit.

On Wednesday, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Alexander Tisch granted the motion on the claims of assault and battery, but declined to award the same judgement for the charge of infliction of emotional distress, citing redundancy, reports the New York Post.

A trial is expected to now be set to help determine damages for Ashworth, but Heller has again brushed off the accusations, declaring, “The claim is baseless and the judgment is worthless.”

Heller is currently representing the actor in his upcoming criminal trial on misdemeanour sexual abuse and forcible touching charges, relating to the allegations of Ashworth and two other accusers. He has denied the charges.

Gooding, Jr.’s legal woes also include an accusation of rape following an alleged encounter with another female in a Manhattan hotel room in 2013. The woman, only identified as Jane Doe, filed a civil suit in August.

– Cover Media