The lawsuit filed in Manhattan's state Supreme Court seeks unspecified monetary damages against Joran van der Sloot, 18, and his father. Both were served with a summons while in New York, Holloway family lawyer Scott Balber said Thursday.
Holloway, 18, of Mountain Brook, Alabama, was last seen May 30 leaving a bar with Surinamese brothers Deepak Kalpoe, 21, and Satish Kalpoe, 18, and van der Sloot, a Dutch national. The honors student was hours from ending her graduation trip.
The wrongful-death lawsuit was filed by Elizabeth Ann Twitty, of Alabama, and Dave Edward Holloway, of Mississippi, the missing teen's mother and father.
Van der Sloot and the Kalpoe brothers were arrested June 9, 2005, on suspicion of involvement in Holloway's disappearance. Van der Sloot admitted he was with the girl but denied any wrongdoing., and nobody has been charged.
The lawsuit refers to van der Sloot as "the predator" and says that on at least three occasions young Aruban women have complained they were the victims of "date rape" by him and his accomplices.
Van der Sloot left Aruba, where his father still lives, and currently lives in Arnhem, the Netherlands, court papers say.
The lawsuit says the father, Paulus van der Sloot, was an enabler of his son's "violent and anti-social lifestyle." Court papers say that on the night of May 29, 2005, he went with his underage son to a casino to play poker. It was at that casino that the younger van der Sloot met Holloway, the lawsuit says.
The court papers present a partly speculative version of what happened after the young people left the casino and went to a bar called Carlos 'n' Charlies in the early hours of May 30, 2005.
At about 1:30 a.m., court papers say, an intoxicated Holloway left with van der Sloot and the Kalpoe brothers. Several of Holloway's friends saw her in the car with the youths and asked her to get out, court papers say, but she did not.
"The next hours of Natalee's young life were marked by torment, terror and debasement," court papers say, describing an imagined sexual assault. "Natalee has not been seen or heard from since entering Deepak's car with Joran."
When Twitty talked to The Early Show's Hannah Storm in October, she had shared her suspicions about what happened to Natalee.
"I know this is really difficult for you to talk about, but you do believe that she was sexually assaulted. Is that correct?" Storm asked.
"Absolutely," Twitty said.
Balber would not say where he believes the van der Sloots are staying in New York or when they were served. He said he believed that as of Thursday they had not retained a lawyer.
Balber said that if a defendant is served with a summons for a lawsuit in the state and neither party lives in the county where the summons is served, then the plaintiff gets to decide the county in which the lawsuit is filed.