Alaska Dep't of Corrections v. Hendricks-PearceAnnotate this Case
The State provided prisoner Dewell Pearce extensive medical care during his incarceration. Around the time of his release from custody, Mr. Pearce won a medical malpractice judgment against the State. The State paid part of the judgment, but relying on a reimbursement statute, withheld the medical care costs associated with conditions unrelated to the malpractice claim. The State then sought a declaratory judgment that it was entitled to reimbursement from Mr. Pearce for treatment of the unrelated conditions. The superior court ruled that the statute in question did not authorize the State to seek reimbursement from former prisoners no longer in custody. The State appealed. Upon review of the superior court record and the applicable statute, the Supreme Court found that the superior court misinterpreted the law. The Court reversed the superior court's ruling and vacated the judgment. The Court remanded the case for further proceedings.