Articles Posted in Employment Law

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A worker was left a paraplegic after a 1976 work-related motor vehicle accident. He suffered a number of medical complications related to his injuries. In 2007, his employer controverted some aspects of his medical care, and he filed a written workers’ compensation claim. Shortly before the hearing on the claim, the employer withdrew most of its controversions. The Alaska Workers’ Compensation Board decided that some of the controversions were frivolous, unfair, or in bad faith. It imposed a statutory penalty and reported its findings about frivolous or unfair controversions to the Alaska Division of Insurance. The employer appealed, and the Alaska Workers’ Compensation Appeals Commission reversed the Board in part, deciding as a matter of law that the Board could not impose a penalty for some of the controversions. The Commission decided that other appeal points were moot. The worker appeals the Commission’s decision reversing the penalties and some attorney’s fees; the employer cross-appeals the Commission’s decisions about preservation of the controversion issues and mootness. Upon review, the Supreme Court affirmed the Commission's decision that the controversion issue was properly before the Board, but reversed regarding the penalties issue. View "Harris v. M-K Rivers" on Justia Law

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Gregg Conitz filed suit against his employer, Teck Alaska Incorporated, alleging discrimination in its internal promotional decisions. The Alaska State Commission for Human Rights dismissed Conitz's complaint, and the superior court dismissed Conitz's appeal as moot. The superior court fount that the same claims had already been decided by a federal court and that the doctrine of res judicata precluded further pursuit of the claims if they were remanded to the Commission. Conitz appealed, but finding no reversible error, the Supreme Court affirmed. View "Conitz v. Alaska State Commission for Human Rights" on Justia Law

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Marilyn Coppe worked in the medical offices of Drs. Michael and Laurie Bleicher from 1994 to 2003. In early 2003, she began to experience respiratory and pain symptoms, which she attributed to her work environment. After her work with the Bleichers ended in October 2003, Coppe sued them in superior court for wrongful discharge. According to Coppe, she became aware during the course of the litigation that she could file a claim with the Alaska Workers' Compensation Board for work-related medical problems. She filed a report of injury in August 2005, alleging that she had suffered an orthopedic strain from repetitive work. She also alleged that she suffered respiratory symptoms due to her work environment. After a hearing, the Board denied her claim, and the Alaska Workers' Compensation Appeals Commission affirmed the Board's decision. Coppe argued on appeal to the Supreme Court that the Board and Commission made factual and legal errors in deciding her case. Finding no error, the Supreme Court affirmed the Commission's decision. View "Coppe v. Bleicher" on Justia Law