Settlement Approved in Suit Against Holden

The City Council on Wednesday approved a $175,000 settlement in a sexual harassment lawsuit brought against Councilman Nate Holden in 1993 by a former aide.

The settlement is far short of the $900,000 originally requested by Carla Cavalier, an ex-Holden field deputy who alleged that the lawmaker created a "sexually charged atmosphere in his City Council offices" and physically and verbally accosted her. Holden denies the allegations.

Cavalier's lawsuit was thrown out in December 1995 by an Orange County judge, who ruled that Cavalier's allegations did not meet the legal definition of sexual harassment. An appellate panel disagreed, however, and reinstated the case in Los Angeles County Superior Court.

A court-ordered mandatory settlement conference in the case was held this week before retired state Supreme Court Justice Armand Arabian, who recommended a settlement. The case--which is expected to cost the city more than $1.3 million in legal fees--was scheduled to go to trial Feb. 1.

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