N.Y. suit against Strauss-Kahn could end in deal

NEW YORK — A hotel housekeeper’s lawsuit against former International Monetary Fund leader Dominique Strauss-Kahn may soon end without public vindication for either of them.

The maid, Nafissatou Diallo, is expected to be there, but Strauss-Kahn is not, when lawyers for both meet in court Monday afternoon to update a judge on the status of settlement discussions.

Diallo’s lawyers said their client filed suit to seek justice after prosecutors gave up on her sexual assault case. Strauss-Khan’s lawyers said she slandered him in a grab for money. If a deal is approved, it could be the product of a meeting of financial motives — getting compensated for an alleged wrong versus avoiding further legal expenses and the uncertainty of a trial. It might be fueled by efforts of two key figures to avoid uncomfortable questions on the stand, or by personal desires to move on. Or all of the above.


‘‘There are a lot of factors that go into why someone settles a case when they do, and it really comes down to, in large part, the appetite that litigants have for being in litigation,’’ said Stuart Slotnick, a New York lawyer whose recent work includes representing Dov Charney, American Apparel’s chief executive, in a sexual harassment case filed by an employee. Strauss-Kahn’s lawyers acknowledged late last month there had been settlement talks, though they dismissed as ‘‘flatly false’’ a French newspaper report that Strauss-Kahn had agreed to pay $6 million. Diallo’s lawyers have declined to comment.

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Diallo’s and Strauss-Kahn’s lives have been upended since the day in May 2011 that she reported he forced her to perform oral sex and tried to rape her after she went to clean his room. He said the encounter was consensual.

Diallo, 33, a Guinean immigrant and mother of a teenage girl, has not returned to the job she held for three years at the Sofitel New York; she is on workers’ compensation, the hotel chain said. Strauss-Kahn, 63, was arrested and charged with attempted rape and other crimes and resigned from his IMF job. Since Diallo came forward, other sexual assault and prostitution allegations have emerged against him, although some have been dropped.

Associated Press