A Capitol Hill resident who said he tried to help an assault victim at a Metro subway stop and then was attacked himself, has sued Metro officials for more than $1 million in damages, claiming that a station attendant ignored his pleas for help.

The incident occurred, according to the suit, when Richard D. Edsell, a 54-year-old engineer with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and his wife Joan, were returning home from a function at the Kennedy Center at 11 p.m. on Nov. 12.

In a suit filed late last week in U.S. District Court, the Edsells said they saw a man attack another man on the subway and then on the station platform. They said the victim, who said he was a Vietnam veteran, offered no resistance.

The couple went to the station information booth and asked the attendant to call for security guards. According to their suit, the attendant said he was on the phone and could do nothing until he finished his conversation, even though the Edsells told him someone was being injured. Despite repeated requests, the suit said, the attendant refused to get off the phone and call for security guards.

While the couple waited at the station booth, the assailant saw them and began beating Edsell, fracturing several bones in his face around his left eye and permanently injuring his eye, according to the suit.

According to the couple's lawyers, Jacob A. Stein and Robert F. Muse, Edsell, who is asking for $1 million in damages, has required extensive hospitalization and treatment as a result of the beating. His wife is suing for $200,000.

Mrs. Edsell declined to talk with a reporter. Richard Edsell could not be reached yesterday for comment.

Stein said the Edsells still do not know the name of the man they were trying to help, nor the name of the assailant. Stein said that the name of the station attendant is unknown so far, but probably would be learned in the course of the suit.

Metro officials said yesterday they would not comment on the suit until they have had a chance to investigate the incident.