TAVARES, Florida — A man who said he was beaten with a golf club in a dispute over use of a golf cart path has sued the man who struck him. The defendant in the lawsuit was arrested after the violent encounter and charged with aggravated battery with great bodily harm.
Dr. Joseph Sivak’s lawsuit against Leesburg dentist Eddie Orobitg in Lake County Circuit Court seeks more than $50,000 in damages, including medical and related expenses.
The suit says Sivak suffered “great physical pain and suffering, mental anguish, permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability,” lost income and capacity for enjoyment of life.
The April 30 incident at Harbor Hills Country Club made national headlines, including Fox News, some of which noted Orobitg’s advertising claim of having “a light touch.”
Lake County sheriff’s deputies responded to a 911 call by Sivak’s wife, according to court records.
Sivak told deputies that he and his wife were walking on the golf cart path at Harbor Hills when Orobitg told him that he was breaking country club rules because the path was reserved for golf carts only.
The men began arguing. “He (Sivak) said at some point the defendant (Orobitg) struck him with a golf club on the side of his head from behind and that during the altercation he defended himself by striking the defendant with his water bottle,” the arrest affidavit says.
Sivak said Orobitg struck him several times with the golf club.
Deputies noted that Sivak had several cuts and a “ripped” ear lobe. They said Sivak was taken to the hospital by ambulance “for further evaluation due to potentially having broken ribs, potentially having a traumatic brain injury, as well as potentially having a broken jaw.”
According to the arrest affidavit, Orobitg told deputies he was golfing with his son when Sivak and his wife walked onto the course, and that he asked them to get out of the way. He said Sivak “got into his face and shoved him.”
He said Sivak then spit on him. That’s when the dispute became physical. Orobitg said Sivak threw a water bottle at him and he thought he was trying to reach one of his golf clubs.
Orobitg said he kept hitting Sivak to keep him from taking his clubs.
Deputies interviewed Orobitg’s juvenile son, who said his father spit in Sivak’s face and that Sivak retaliated by spitting on his father. He said Sivak pushed his dad. He said his father “accidentally” struck Sivak with his golf club while falling.
“He then stated that his father and the victim began physically fighting and his father began to strike the victim several times, even when the victim was on the ground,” the affidavit says.
Deputies noted blood and injuries on Sivak and blood on the golf clubs. The only injury to Orobitg was a cut on his hands, according to the arrest affidavit.
Sivak’s wife said Orobitg spit in her husband’s face first.
Orobitg was arrested and booked into jail, with bail set at $5,000. He has pleaded not guilty and his criminal case remains ongoing.
His lawyer, Nicholas Stack, filed a motion in court asking for the release of Sivak’s medical records. Those records were released, but the court ruled that they were not to be released publicly.
Orobitg practices general family dentistry at his Leesburg office, performs cosmetic dentistry, does implants, and periodontics, according to his website.
Sivak is a telepsychiatrist with MindCare Solutions. He was director of Behavioral Health with The Villages Health Systems LLC from 2016 to 2020.
So far, there is no legal challenge to the lawsuit. No trial date has been set in the criminal case. Orobitg faces a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.