Carter victim files $4 million suit

February 18, 1993|By Joe Nawrozki | Joe Nawrozki,Staff Writer

A kidnapping victim of convicted murderer Dontay Carter has filed a $4 million lawsuit against a security firm and the owners of the downtown garage from which he was abducted.

In a lawsuit filed yesterday in Baltimore Circuit Court, Douglas R. Legenhausen of Baltimore contends that the owners of Harbor Park Garage failed to provide adequate security measures in the multi-level facility at 55 Market Place.

Carter abducted three victims from parking garages during a week-long crime spree last February.

Mr. Legenhausen and Vitalis Pilius, a Catonsville engineer, were abducted from the Harbor Park Garage and Dr. Daniel Ford was abducted from a garage at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Mr. Pilius was beaten to death in an East Baltimore rowhouse.

The suit names as defendants Security America Services Inc. of Columbia and three corporations listed as owners or managers of Harbor Park Garage: Edison Park Fast Inc. of New Jersey, Edison Parking Corp. of Baltimore and Edison Parking Corp. of Maryland.

In the suit's first count, Mr. Legenhausen's attorney, John Kenny, alleges that as a result of the "defendants' negligence and breach of duty . . . Legenhausen suffered and will continue to suffer severe and irreversible mental anguish, fear, emotional pain and other damages."

Mr. Legenhausen was abducted Feb. 14, 1992. The suit contends that prior to that date, "Edison knew or should have known that numerous violent crimes had been committed in and around the Harbor Park Garage against business invitees parking or returning to their automobiles inside the garage and together."

The defendants, the suit alleges, "failed to provide additional security measures to protect business invitees on the premises."

The security firm "knew or should have known that the security procedures, equipment and personnel utilized at the Harbor Park Garage were unreasonably inadequate and ineffective for the purpose of protecting and/or significantly reducing the business invitees' exposure to anticipated and reasonably foreseeable acts of criminal violence," the suit states.

The second count of the suit alleges that, because of the emotional trauma suffered by Mr. Legenhausen, his relationship with his wife, Elizabeth, was severely hampered.

Because of the kidnapping incident, the Legenhausens "were, are and will be caused to suffer the loss of each other's society and companionship, the loss of affection to each other, the loss and damage to the intangible associations the marriage brings."

Mr. Legenhausen has been in counseling since the abduction.

Security America official yesterday denied that the firm provided security at Harbor Park Garage at the time of Mr. Legenhausen's abduction.

"We were not providing security there at the time," Melvin L. Blanheim, resident agent for the security firm, said, adding: "I don't know anything about a lawsuit."

Carter last month pleaded guilty to kidnapping Mr. Legenhausen, 47. In a plea bargain, Carter received a prison zTC sentence not to exceed 40 years. According to testimony at Carter's trial, the East Baltimore teen-ager forced Mr. Legenhausen into the trunk of his automobile at gunpoint and robbed him.

The victim testified that he twice thought he was going to die, first when Carter opened the trunk while still in the garage and pointed a .revolver in his face and later when Carter drove out of the garage while he remained a captive in the trunk.

Drawing on his expertise as a jeweler, Mr. Legenhausen followed an electrical wire to a plunger that allowed him to open the trunk and escape. Carter was arrested minutes later.

The kidnapping of Mr. Legenhausen followed the Feb. 11, 1992, abduction of Mr. Pilius. Carter has been convicted of first-degree murder and kidnapping in connection with Mr. Pilius' death.

Carter also was convicted of kidnapping and beating Dr. Ford, a Johns Hopkins Hospital physician who was taken at gunpoint from a Hopkins garage Feb. 7, 1992.

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