Berhanu v. Metzger

Popular Name: 
White Aryan Resistance/Skinheads Case
Case Number: 
A8911-07007
Court where filed: 
Circuit Court, Multnomah County, Oregon
Date Filed: 
11/22/1989
Status: 
Won
Plaintiffs: 
Engedaw Berhanu, representative of the estate of victim Mulugeta Seraw, an Ethiopian college student
Defendants: 
Tom Metzger, president of White Aryan Resistance; his son, John Metzger; other followers of WAR
Case Related Items 

Fighting WAR
In 1988, Tom and John Metzger sent their best White Aryan Resistance (WAR) recruiter to organize a Portland skinhead gang. After being trained in WAR's methods, the gang killed an Ethiopian student. Tom Metzger praised the skinheads for doing their "civic duty."

Center attorneys filed a civil suit, Berhanu v. Metzger, asserting the Metzgers and WAR were as responsible for the killing as the Portland skinheads. In October 1990, a jury agreed and awarded $12.5 million in damages to the family of the victim, Mulugeta Seraw.

In 1994, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to review Metzger's appeal, allowing Center attorneys to begin distributing funds from the sale of WAR's assets. The principal beneficiary is Seraw's son, Henock, who receives monthly payments from WAR's bank account.

 

Co-Counsel: 

Elden Rosenthal

Date(s) of Disposition: 

04/02/1990: Case amended
10/08/1990: Jury trial opens
10/25/1990: Verdict for plaintiff