Doctor sued in harassment at auction

July 27, 1994|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,Sun Staff Writer

An Annapolis woman has filed a $4.1 million suit in Anne Arundel Circuit Court against a doctor she says grabbed her, screamed obscenities at her and put a business card into her bra when she outbid him at a charity auction.

Patricia McPhail and her husband, S. Keith McPhail, both of the 1100 block of Bay Highlands Drive, allege Dr. Leon R. Levitsky approached Mrs. McPhail and harassed her after she outbid him for a painting in a silent auction at the Holly Ball at the Annapolis Ramada on Dec. 4, 1993.

The event, which attracted 300 community leaders, is sponsored each year by the Severn Town Club, a civic organization that makes contributions to civic causes, said Frederick C. Sussman, the McPhails' lawyer.

Mrs. McPhail, who was silent auction chairwoman for the ball, had apparently won a painting that Dr. Levitsky had bid on and the doctor was "furious and outraged that he had not been the successful bidder," the suit says.

The physician confronted Mrs. McPhail at about 10:45 p.m. and backed her against a reception hall doorway, it says.

Dr. Levitsky, who is taller and heavier than Mrs. McPhail, stood "toe to toe" with her, screamed obscenities and pointed his finger at her, flailed his arms and "called her a thief and a crook and accused her of rigging the bidding of the Silent Auction," the suit alleges.

When she went to another part of the reception hall, the doctor followed, this time accompanied by his lawyer, William Renahan, who was also a guest at the event.

Dr. Levitsky "resumed his verbal berating of Mrs. McPhail," and angrily introduced Mr. Renahan "as his attorney," the suit alleges.

Dr. Levitsky then "grabbed her right arm midway between her wrist and elbow and twisted her arm with force," the suit says.

Mrs. McPhail pulled away and told him not to touch her. But Dr. Levitsky replied "Well, take this," and, pulling the top of her dress from her body, he placed "an object into Mrs. McPhail's bra, in the process touching her left breast," the suit alleges.

Neither Dr. Levitsky nor Mr. Renahan, who both have offices in Lanham, were available to comment yesterday.

Mr. Sussman said the object Dr. Levitsky placed in his client's bra was Mr. Renahan's business card. He said that Mr. McPhail, who was standing nearby, had to be restrained from going after Dr. Levitsky.

Mr. Sussman said the incident took place before several witnesses and the contested picture was "some innocuous painting" that was not particularly valuable, nor a collector's item.

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