Alaska Supreme Court Decisions 2015

Lieutenant Governor of the State of Alaska v. Alaska Fisheries Conservation Alliance  
Date: December 31, 2015
Citation: 363 P.3d 105
Docket Number: S-15662

Justia Opinion Summary: The Lieutenant Governor declined to certify a proposed ballot initiative that would ban commercial set net fishing in nonsubsistence areas, reasoning that the initiative was a constitutionally prohibited appropriation of...

Hunter v. Philip Morris USA Inc.  
Date: December 18, 2015
Citation: 364 P.3d 439
Docket Numbers: S-15126, S-15135

Justia Opinion Summary: Dolores Hunter, the personal representative of the estate of Benjamin G. Francis, appealed a series of orders following a jury verdict in a wrongful death, products liability, and fraud action against Philip Morris USA I...

George v. Alaska  
Date: December 18, 2015
Citation: 362 P.3d 1026
Docket Number: S-15618

Justia Opinion Summary: Kelsey George was convicted of four counts of first degree sexual abuse of a minor, three counts of second degree sexual abuse of a minor, and one count of attempted sexual abuse of a minor in the first degree. George ap...

Laybourn v. City of Wasilla  
Date: December 11, 2015
Citation: 362 P.3d 447
Docket Numbers: S-15478, S-15488

Justia Opinion Summary: Property owners granted a utility easement to the City of Wasilla in exchange for the City’s promise to build an access road across their property, subject to obtaining permits and funding. The access road was not built,...

Dundas v. Dundas  
Date: December 11, 2015
Citation: 362 P.3d 468
Docket Number: S-15599

Justia Opinion Summary: Dea and James Dundas married in 1997 after a lengthy relationship. Dea raised their two sons, operated a B&B, kept the books for their businesses, and filed their taxes. Dea also was an expediter for James' fishing and c...

Susan M. v. Paul H.  
Date: December 11, 2015
Citation: 362 P.3d 460
Docket Number: S-15602

Justia Opinion Summary: This appeal arose from a custody dispute between Susan M. and Paul H. involving: (1) Susan’s motion to sanction Paul for wrongfully denying her visitation; and (2) her motion to enjoin Paul from relocating to California...

City & Borough of Juneau v. Alaska Local Boundary Comm'n  
Date: December 4, 2015
Citation: 361 P.3d 926
Docket Numbers: S-15502, S-15512

Justia Opinion Summary: In April 2011 the City of Petersburg petitioned the State of Alaska's Local Boundary Commission to dissolve the City and incorporate a new borough. In August the Boundary Commission accepted the petition and published no...

RBG Bush Planes, LLC v. Alaska Public Offices Commission  
Date: November 25, 2015
Citation: 361 P.3d 886
Docket Number: S-15397

Justia Opinion Summary: In September 2010 RBG Bush Planes, LLC (Bush Planes) allowed two candidates for public office for the Lake and Peninsula Borough Assembly to travel on a series of preexisting flights throughout the borough. Bush Planes c...

Municipality of Anchorage v. Stenseth  
Date: November 25, 2015
Citation: 361 P.3d 898
Docket Number: S-15546

Justia Opinion Summary: Lee Stenseth was injured at work many years ago. He and his employer, the Municipality of Anchorage, entered into a compromise and release agreement (C&R) in August 1996 in which Stenseth waived all future benefits excep...

Brandner v. Pease  
Date: November 25, 2015
Citation: 361 P.3d 915
Docket Number: S-15633

Justia Opinion Summary: Dr. Michael Brandner suffered a heart attack in September 2009 and was admitted to Providence Alaska Medical Center for emergency bypass surgery. Dr. Kenton Stephens was the cardiac surgeon who performed the operation; D...

Rowan B. v. Alaska Dept. of Health & Social Svcs.  
Date: November 25, 2015
Citation: 361 P.3d 910
Docket Number: S-15862

Justia Opinion Summary: Rowan B., Sr.(father) and Risa F. were the divorced parents of three children: Agnes, Rowan Jr. (Junior), and Saul. After Rowan and Risa divorced, Rowan received custody of their three children as well as custody of Risa...

Estrada v. Alaska  
Date: November 20, 2015
Citation: 362 P.3d 1021
Docket Number: S-15434

Justia Opinion Summary: Four Angoon fishermen challenged an Alaska Department of Fish and Game regulation that limits how many fish may be taken annually under a subsistence fishing permit on various grounds after they were charged with taking...

Richardson v. Municipality of Anchorage  
Date: October 30, 2015
Citation: 360 P.3d 79
Docket Numbers: S-15211, S-15221

Justia Opinion Summary: The Anchorage Police Department identified Joshua Richardson as a suspect in a shoplifting incident. When the police went to Richardson’s home to make an arrest, Richardson hid in a crawlspace and allegedly incurred inju...

Luker v. Sykes  
Date: October 16, 2015
Citation: 357 P.3d 1191
Docket Numbers: S-14744, S-14763

Justia Opinion Summary: The central issue in this case is whether Duane Sykes has a right to access his property across his neighbors’ lots. Sykes sued neighboring property owners, claiming that he had access rights across their land because of...

Wells v. Barile  
Date: October 16, 2015
Citation: 358 P.3d 583
Docket Number: S-15590

Justia Opinion Summary: Tammy Wells and Primo Barile married in 1995 and divorced in 2004. They had a son, born in 1997. Tammy married Lance Wells after her divorce from Primo and had two children with Lance. Tammy and Primo shared physical cus...

Sanders v. Alaska  
Date: October 9, 2015
Citation: 364 P.3d 412
Docket Number: S-15403

Justia Opinion Summary: Petitioner-defendant Ryan Sanders was on trial for two murders. He sought to admit a recording of a phone call to the police, placed by a young woman who had since died. On the recording, the young woman told a police of...

Alaskasland.com, LLC v. Cross  
Date: September 25, 2015
Docket Number: S-15270

Justia Opinion Summary: Using three photographs taken from a neighboring subdivision’s marketing materials (including one portraying the subdivision’s stylized entrance sign), a realtor group listed adjacent property for sale on a multiple list...

Ruppe v. Ruppe  
Date: September 25, 2015
Citation: 358 P.3d 1284
Docket Number: S-15311

Justia Opinion Summary: Terri Lin Ruppe appealed a superior court order granting her divorce, determining custody, distributing marital property, and setting child support obligations for her former husband, Terry. She raised issues related to...

In Re Necessity for the Hospitalization of Reid K.  
Date: September 25, 2015
Citation: 357 P.3d 776
Docket Number: S-15328

Justia Opinion Summary: Twenty-six year old Reid K. was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia at age 16. He experienced delusions and severe command auditory hallucinations in the form of seven different voices that often instructed him to harm...

Cook Inlet Fisherman's Fund v. Alaska Dept. of Fish & Game  
Date: September 25, 2015
Citation: 357 P.3d 789
Docket Number: S-15595

Justia Opinion Summary: Relevant to this appeal, set net and drift net commercial fishers both targeted sockeye salmon returning to the Kasilof and Kenai Rivers. The 2013 commercial fishing season in the Upper Cook Inlet saw strong sockeye salm...

Snider v. Snider  
Date: September 25, 2015
Citation: 357 P.3d 1180
Docket Number: S-15613

Justia Opinion Summary: A father filed for divorce and sought sole physical custody of the couple’s only child. Shortly before trial the father moved for a continuance. The court vacated the first scheduled trial day, used the second to take te...

Erica G. v. Taylor Taxi, Inc.  
Date: September 25, 2015
Citation: 357 P.3d 783
Docket Number: S-15634

Justia Opinion Summary: In September 2013, "Erica G." filed a complaint for damages against Taylor Taxi, Inc., The Taylor Revocable Trust, and L & J Cabs, Inc. (collectively, Taylor Taxi). The complaint alleged that “a licensed taxi driver oper...

Alaska Commercial Fishermen's Memorial in Juneau v. City & Borough Juneau  
Date: September 25, 2015
Citation: 357 P.3d 1172
Docket Number: S-15676

Justia Opinion Summary: A nonprofit organization constructed a granite memorial on the Juneau waterfront and each spring conducted a ceremonial blessing of the fleet as the fishing boats passed by. The City and Borough of Juneau decided to buil...

Tagaban v. City of Pelican  
Date: September 18, 2015
Citation: 358 P.3d 571
Docket Numbers: S-15014, S-15253

Justia Opinion Summary: Clifford Tagaban argued that the City of Pelican's foreclosed upon several parcels of land against which he had a judicial lien without giving him proper notice. In 1998 Tagaban was awarded a judgment against the Kake Tr...

Guerrero v. Guerrero  
Date: September 18, 2015
Citation: 362 P.3d 432
Docket Number: S-15340

Justia Opinion Summary: A husband and wife divorced, and agreed that the wife would receive the marital home and a portion of the husband’s military retirement benefits. Additionally, the wife would remove the husband from the marital home mort...

City of Hooper Bay v. Bunyan  
Date: September 11, 2015
Citation: 359 P.3d 972
Docket Number: S-15533

Justia Opinion Summary: A 21-year-old intoxicated Hooper Bay resident, Louis Bunyan, committed suicide while he was detained in a holding cell by the City of Hooper Bay. His mother filed a wrongful death action against the City, alleging that t...

Wilson v. Alaska Dept. of Law  
Date: September 4, 2015
Citation: 355 P.3d 549
Docket Number: S-15496

Justia Opinion Summary: Appellant Helen Wilson was an elderly woman residing at the Palmer Pioneer home with her husband. Helen previously lived in her own house but was unable to manage her medications and nutrition independently. Her son and...

Hope P. v. Flynn G.  
Date: September 4, 2015
Citation: 355 P.3d 559
Docket Number: S-15675

Justia Opinion Summary: t issue in this appeal are parents’ motions to modify their existing child custody arrangement. Without a hearing, the superior court denied the mother’s motion but granted the father’s motion for a temporary modificatio...

Diana P. v. Alaska Dept. of Health & Soc. Srvcs  
Date: September 1, 2015
Citation: 355 P.3d 541
Docket Number: S-15688

Justia Opinion Summary: This case involved "Diana" and her daughters(all "Indian children"): Natalie was born in 2008; Selah was born in 2009; Ava was born in 2010; and Drew was born in 2011. The children's father previously relinquished his pa...

Alaska Dept. of Revenue v. BP Pipelines (Alaska) Inc.  
Date: August 28, 2015
Citation: 354 P.3d 1053
Docket Numbers: S-14696, S-14705, S-14706, S-14716, S-14725

Justia Opinion Summary: At the center of this an appeal was the superior court's de novo valuation of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS) for tax assessment years 2007, 2008, and 2009. In February 2014 the Alaska Supreme Court issued a deci...

Manning v. Alaska Dept. of Fish & Game  
Date: August 28, 2015
Docket Number: S-15121

Justia Opinion Summary: This case centered on a challenge to the Board of Game's 2010 amendments to regulations for subsistence caribou hunting in Game Management Unit 13, known as the Nelchina basin. The Alaska Board of Game promulgated regula...

Oakly Enterprises, LLC v. NPI, LLC  
Date: August 28, 2015
Citation: 354 P.3d 1073
Docket Number: S-15159

Justia Opinion Summary: This case stemmed from a dispute over whether the owner of a wood chipper could be held jointly and severally liable, along with two property owners, for damages caused to their property by the chipper's leak of diesel f...

DeVilbiss v. Matanuska-Susitna Borough  
Date: August 28, 2015
Citation: 356 P.3d 290
Docket Number: S-15344

Justia Opinion Summary: Pro se appellant Ray DeVilbiss owned property within a road service area, but did not make use of the roads built and maintained with the road service taxes levied on that property. He argued Alaska law required that his...

In Re Necessity for the Hospitalization of Dakota K.  
Date: August 28, 2015
Citation: 354 P.3d 1068
Docket Number: S-15428

Justia Opinion Summary: "Dakota K." appealed a 30-day involuntary psychiatric commitment. The issue this case presented for the Alaska Supreme Court's review was whether the State or the respondent had the burden to prove the existence of prior...

Jennifer L. v. Alaska Dept. of Health & Social Svcs.  
Date: August 28, 2015
Citation: 357 P.3d 110
Docket Number: S-15646

Justia Opinion Summary: Jennifer and Adam were the parents of three minor children: a daughter, Andrea, and two younger boys. The children were Indian children as defined in the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA). The State's Office of Children's...

Caroline J. v. Theodore J.  
Date: August 28, 2015
Citation: 354 P.3d 1085
Docket Number: S-15693

Justia Opinion Summary: The superior court granted Caroline J. a long-term domestic violence protective order and awarded her interim sole physical and legal custody of her and Theodore J.'s three children. During the pendency of the divorce an...

Fernandez v. Fernandez  
Date: August 28, 2015
Citation: 358 P.3d 562
Docket Number: S-15729

Justia Opinion Summary: A husband and wife filed for divorce in 1986 and the court awarded the wife monthly child support. But the parties did not actually separate until 2007 (except for a period apart from 1997 to 2001). Their dissolution was...

Matthew P. v. Gail S.  
Date: August 28, 2015
Citation: 354 P.3d 1044
Docket Number: S-15735

Justia Opinion Summary: Following their separation, two parents initially shared physical custody of their daughter. But after a domestic violence incident, the superior court awarded the mother sole legal and primary physical custody, while al...

Pacifica Marine, Inc. v. Solomon Gold, Inc.  
Date: August 21, 2015
Citation: 356 P.3d 780
Docket Number: S-15619

Justia Opinion Summary: A bidder for mineral leases failed to submit a declaration he was a citizen older than 18 and thus qualified to bid. The Director of the Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Mining, Land & Water later allowed the...

Horne v. Touhakis  
Date: August 14, 2015
Citation: 356 P.3d 280
Docket Number: S-15337

Justia Opinion Summary: Mark Horne and Belinda Touhakis were romantically involved for several years in the mid 2000s, though they never married and produced no biological children together. During their relationship, Touhakis adopted a daughte...

Rodriguez v. Alaska Commission for Human Rights  
Date: August 14, 2015
Citation: 354 P.3d 380
Docket Number: S-15383

Justia Opinion Summary: Luis Rodriguez was a gay Hispanic man employed by Delta Airlines, Inc. In November 2010 Rodriguez filed a complaint with the Alaska State Commission for Human Rights, accusing Delta of race-based discrimination. Rodrigue...

GeoTek Alaska, Inc., v. Jacobs Engineering Group, Inc.  
Date: August 14, 2015
Citation: 354 P.3d 368
Docket Number: S-15449

Justia Opinion Summary: An insolvent subcontractor failed to pay its sub-subcontractor, and the sub-subcontractor sought payment directly from the general contractor through arbitration. The general contractor declined to participate. The arbit...

Duenas-Rendon v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.  
Date: August 14, 2015
Citation: 354 P.3d 1037
Docket Number: S-15596

Justia Opinion Summary: Borrower-appellant Maria Duenas-Rendon sued her mortgage lender, Wells Fargo Bank, claiming that its foreclosure on her home violated the terms of their contract. On appeal, she argued that the lender waived its right t...

Remy M. v. Alaska Dept. of Health & Soc. Svcs.  
Date: August 14, 2015
Citation: 356 P.3d 285
Docket Number: S-15719

Justia Opinion Summary: A father appealed the termination of his parental rights to his daughter. He claimed the trial court violated his due process rights when it allowed the termination trial to conclude in his absence without first asking h...

Andrea C., v. Marcus K.  
Date: August 7, 2015
Citation: 355 P.3d 521
Docket Number: S-14996

Justia Opinion Summary: Andrea C. appealed a superior court’s decision to award Marcus K. primary physical and sole legal custody of their two children. Andrea argued the superior court made inadequate findings regarding Marcus’s history of dom...

McGlinchy v. Alaska Dept. of Nat. Resources  
Date: August 7, 2015
Citation: 354 P.3d 1025
Docket Number: S-15277

Justia Opinion Summary: M&M Constructors, owned by James McGlinchy, submitted a permit application to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to mine a mineral deposit for use as construction rock. DNR denied M&M’s permit application because...

Theresa L., v. Alaska Dept. of Health & Soc. Svcs.  
Date: August 7, 2015
Citation: 353 P.3d 831
Docket Number: S-15622

Justia Opinion Summary: A mother ("Theresa L.") appealed the termination of her parental rights to her two youngest children. The children, teenagers at the time of the termination hearing, testified that they did not want her rights to be term...

Barber v. Schmidt  
Date: July 31, 2015
Citation: 354 P.3d 158
Docket Numbers: S-15141, S-15152

Justia Opinion Summary: Six Alaska prisoners jointly filed a pro se putative class-action complaint against various Department of Corrections officials. Their complaint listed 18 causes of action, many of which addressed changes in Department p...

Erkins v. Alaska Trustee, LLC  
Date: July 31, 2015
Citation: 355 P.3d 516
Docket Number: S-15297

Justia Opinion Summary: The bank wanted to foreclose on appellant Gregory Erkins' property. Appellant alleged that he was incapacitated when he entered into the loan contract and attempted to use this defense against a bank that was a subsequen...

Pister v. Dept. of Revenue  
Date: July 24, 2015
Citation: 354 P.3d 357
Docket Number: S-15332

Justia Opinion Summary: The State Department of Revenue sought to hold the sole shareholder, director, and employee of a closely held Washington corporation personally liable for the corporation’s unpaid tax debts. The superior court pierced th...

Miller v. Dept. of Environmental Conservation  
Date: July 24, 2015
Citation: 353 P.3d 346
Docket Number: S-15370

Justia Opinion Summary: An oyster farmer closed his farm after dozens of people became sick from eating his oysters. He sued the state Department of Environmental Conservation, alleging that the agency negligently informed him that the site of...

Ross v. Bauman  
Date: July 24, 2015
Citation: 353 P.3d 816
Docket Number: S-15473

Justia Opinion Summary: A grandparent petitioned for restriction-free visitation with his grandchildren after they moved out of state. The parents conceded that visitation with the grandparent was in the children’s best interests, but opposed c...

McGee v. Alaska Bar Association
Date: July 24, 2015
Citation: 353 P.3d 350
Docket Number: S-15636
Ray v. Draeger  
Date: July 17, 2015
Citation: 353 P.3d 806
Docket Number: S-15347

Justia Opinion Summary: In a personal injury trial resulting from a car accident, plaintiff sought to cross-examine defendant's medical expert about his substantial connection to the insurance industry in an effort to prove bias. In response to...

Jacko v. Alaska  
Date: July 17, 2015
Citation: 353 P.3d 337
Docket Number: S-15516

Justia Opinion Summary: Lake and Peninsula Borough voters passed an initiative prohibiting large-scale mining activities that had a "significant adverse impact" on anadromous waters within the Borough. Pebble Limited Partnership and Alaska (fir...

Hagen v. Strobel  
Date: July 10, 2015
Citation: 353 P.3d 799
Docket Number: S-15479

Justia Opinion Summary: A cardiologist performed pacemaker surgery on Gregory Hagen and then ordered an x-ray to check the placement of the pacemaker leads and for complications. A second cardiologist reviewed the x-ray and discharged Hagen fro...

Moore v. Olson  
Date: July 2, 2015
Citation: 351 P.3d 1066
Docket Number: S-15281

Justia Opinion Summary: Donald Olson and Aimee Moore met in 1995. Between 1995 and 2004 they had business and personal relationships. The business relationship began with Donald training Aimee to fly helicopters in exchange for Aimee’s work for...

Cooper v. Thompson  
Date: June 26, 2015
Citation: 353 P.3d 782
Docket Number: S-15554

Justia Opinion Summary: In December 2008 Michael Cooper caused a car accident that injured Samuel Thompson. During the second trial on compensatory damages the superior court excluded any evidence that Thompson had been assaulted by his then-gi...

Sarah D. v. John D.  
Date: June 12, 2015
Citation: 352 P.3d 419
Docket Number: S-15288

Justia Opinion Summary: Sarah D. and John D. separated shortly after their daughter turned three. Each claimed that the other was abusive, and obtained a short-term domestic violence protective order after they separated. The parties later stip...

Hutton v. Alaska  
Date: June 5, 2015
Citation: 350 P.3d 793
Docket Number: S-15266

Justia Opinion Summary: Petitioner Tracy Hutton was arrested on several weapons charges. After the first two counts were tried to a jury, he waived his right to a jury trial and the third count was tried to the court. He was convicted and appea...

Aulukestai v. Dept. of Natural Resources  
Date: May 29, 2015
Citation: 351 P.3d 1041
Docket Numbers: S-14560, S-14579

Justia Opinion Summary: At issue in this case were land and water use permits allowing intensive mineral exploration on State land. Specifically, the Supreme Court was asked to decide whether the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) had to giv...

Alaska Conservation Foundation v. Pebble Limited Partnership  
Date: May 29, 2015
Citation: 350 P.3d 273
Docket Numbers: S-15059, S-15060, S-15089

Justia Opinion Summary: The issue this case presented for the Supreme Court's review centered on unsuccessful constitutional claimants’ invocation of a statutory protection against adverse awards of attorney’s fees and the responsive assertion...

Moore v. Moore  
Date: May 29, 2015
Citation: 349 P.3d 1076
Docket Number: S-15712

Justia Opinion Summary: When Brandy and Jeremy Moore divorced in 2014, the superior court granted sole legal and primary physical custody of their ten-year-old daughter to Brandy, and awarded Jeremy unrestricted visitation, including visitation...

Engstrom v. Engstrom  
Date: May 15, 2015
Citation: 350 P.3d 766
Docket Number: S-14752

Justia Opinion Summary: Husband appealed a superior court decision dividing the marital property. He raises two issues with regard to his wife’s retirement health insurance benefits: (1) that the superior court erred in determining the marital...

Manning v. Alaska Dept. of Fish & Game  
Date: May 15, 2015
Docket Number: S-15121

Justia Opinion Summary: The Alaska Board of Game promulgated regulations managing caribou hunting in Game Management Unit 13. A hunter challenged the regulations on constitutional and statutory grounds, arguing that they wrongfully interfered w...

Devine v. Great Divide Insurance Company  
Date: May 15, 2015
Citation: 350 P.3d 782
Docket Number: S-15209

Justia Opinion Summary: A man working at a concrete-pouring job was assaulted by another worker at the job site. The injured man filed a lawsuit against the assailant and both the concrete-pouring company and its owner. Although the company’s c...

Brandner v. Bateman  
Date: May 15, 2015
Citation: 349 P.3d 1068
Docket Number: S-15513

Justia Opinion Summary: Dr. Michael Brandner’s hospital privileges at Providence Alaska Medical Center were revoked after he violated hospital policy by failing to disclose an order from the Alaska State Medical Board that he undergo an evaluat...

Ace Delivery & Moving, Inc. v. Alaska State Commission for Human Rights  
Date: May 15, 2015
Citation: 350 P.3d 776
Docket Number: S-15594

Justia Opinion Summary: The State Commission for Human Rights brought an action on behalf of an employee who alleged that her employer’s racist and insensitive remarks created a hostile work environment. The Commission ultimately found that the...

Ranes & Shine, LLC v. MacDonald Miller Alaska, Inc.  
Date: May 1, 2015
Citation: 355 P.3d 503
Docket Number: S-15222

Justia Opinion Summary: In 2005 Gordon Timmerman, sole owner of MacDonald Miller Alaska, Inc., agreed to release a claim MacDonald Miller had against Ranes & Shine, LLC, and to pay an additional $18,000 in exchange for equipment Ranes & Shine c...

Vonder Haar v. Dept. of Administration  
Date: May 1, 2015
Citation: 349 P.3d 173
Docket Number: S-15385

Justia Opinion Summary: Paige Vonder Haar purchased a vehicle from a seller in Oregon in 2007. The parties labeled the vehicle variously as an “electric car” or a “customized golf cart,” depending on their perspective. Paige’s husband David tes...

In Re Ivy
Date: May 1, 2015
Citation: 350 P.3d 758
Docket Number: S-15450
Payton S. v. Dept. of Health & Social Services  
Date: May 1, 2015
Citation: 349 P.3d 162
Docket Numbers: S-15581, S-15585

Justia Opinion Summary: The Office of Children’s Services (OCS) took custody of two young girls because of their parents’ substance abuse and neglect. OCS took custody of the parents’ son shortly after his birth for the same reasons. The trial...

Alaska Dept. of Health & Social Services v. Gross  
Date: April 24, 2015
Citation: 347 P.3d 116
Docket Number: S-15339

Justia Opinion Summary: An applicant for federal disability benefits applied for state benefits that were intended to provide basic assistance while the federal application was pending. The Division of Public Assistance denied these interim ben...

Wagner v. Alaska  
Date: April 24, 2015
Citation: 347 P.3d 109
Docket Number: S-15419

Justia Opinion Summary: Michael Wagner shot and killed his landlord, Steven Key, in 2006. The superior court ruled that the prosecution could use Wagner's police interview to impeach him if he took the stand at his murder trial. Wagner argued o...

Alaska Police Standards Council v. Parcell  
Date: April 17, 2015
Citation: 348 P.3d 882
Docket Number: S-15364

Justia Opinion Summary: A police officer’s employment was terminated for abuse of alcohol, sexually offensive remarks made to two female officers, and alleged dishonesty during the subsequent police investigation. An arbitrator concluded that t...

Kinnan v. Sitka Counseling  
Date: April 17, 2015
Citation: 349 P.3d 153
Docket Number: S-15437

Justia Opinion Summary: Arthur Kinnan lived in a residence as part of a substance abuse treatment program operated by Sitka Counseling. Funding for that program ended, and Sitka Counseling informed Kinnan that he would be required to vacate. Ki...

Faye H. v. James B.  
Date: April 17, 2015
Citation: 348 P.3d 876
Docket Number: S-15566

Justia Opinion Summary: In this case, the superior court awarded the parents joint physical custody of their daughter, finding that although the father had committed domestic violence, it was “not of a degree or frequency” to trigger the presum...

Castle Properties, Inc. v. Wasilla Lake Church of the Nazarene  
Date: April 10, 2015
Citation: 347 P.3d 990
Docket Number: S-15381

Justia Opinion Summary: Castle Properties, Inc. held a right of first refusal on approximately 2.4 acres of unimproved land owned by the Wasilla Lake Church of the Nazarene (Church). The City of Wasilla offered the Church another parcel of appr...

Foondle v. O'Brien  
Date: April 3, 2015
Citation: 346 P.3d 970
Docket Number: S-15045

Justia Opinion Summary: Appellant William Foondle appeals the superior court’s dismissal of his claims for legal malpractice against the public defenders who represented him in a criminal case. A grand jury indicted William Foondle for felony d...

Patterson v. GEICO General Insurance Company  
Date: April 3, 2015
Citation: 347 P.3d 562
Docket Number: S-15265

Justia Opinion Summary: Appellant Tommie Patterson was injured in a hit-and-run accident and sued his car insurance company claiming it had breached his insurance contract by failing to reasonably compensate him for his injuries. He later moved...

Alaska Fish & Wildlife Conservation Fund v. Alaska  
Date: March 27, 2015
Citation: 347 P.3d 97
Docket Number: S-14516

Justia Opinion Summary: The Alaska Board of Game has established two different systems of subsistence hunting for moose and caribou in Alaska’s Copper Basin region: (1) community hunts for groups following a hunting pattern similar to the one t...

Baker v. Ryan Air, Inc.  
Date: March 27, 2015
Citations: 345 P.3d 101, 346 P.3d 970
Docket Number: S-15354

Justia Opinion Summary: Ryan Air entered into a contractual agreement to sublease an airport lot in Kotzebue. The agreement gave Ryan Air an option to purchase the leasehold and apply its rent payments to the final purchase price. But when Ryan...

Norris v. Norris  
Date: March 27, 2015
Citation: 345 P.3d 924
Docket Number: S-15439

Justia Opinion Summary: A married couple moved from Fairbanks to Mississippi to “start a new life” and work on their marriage. After living in Mississippi for a few months the husband filed for divorce, and a Mississippi court entered a tempora...

Mahan v. Mahan  
Date: March 27, 2015
Citation: 347 P.3d 91
Docket Number: S-15456

Justia Opinion Summary: A husband and wife obtained a marriage dissolution that included a provision to split the “profits . . . after the cost of fuel and can[ne]ry dues” from their jointly owned commercial fishing boat. The parties disputed t...

Stavenjord v. Schmidt  
Date: March 20, 2015
Citation: 344 P.3d 826
Docket Number: S-14917

Justia Opinion Summary: Paul Stavenjord, a Buddhist inmate, asked to receive a Kosher diet and to be permitted to purchase a prayer shawl. Prison officials at the Alaska Department of Corrections denied his requests. Stavenjord filed a complain...

Alaska Fur Gallery, Inc. v. First National Bank Alaska
Date: March 13, 2015
Docket Numbers: S-14856, S-14875
Red Elk v. McBride
Date: March 13, 2015
Docket Number: S-15240
Brooks v. Horner
Date: March 13, 2015
Docket Number: S-15341
Alaska Fur Gallery, Inc. v. First National Bank Alaska  
Date: March 11, 2015
Docket Numbers: S-14856, S-14875

Justia Opinion Summary: A family of business owners obtained a bank loan to invest in a fledgling hotel project. The family later sued the bank, alleging that one of its loan officers fraudulently induced them to invest in the project. This app...

Red Elk v. McBride  
Date: March 11, 2015
Docket Number: S-15240

Justia Opinion Summary: Two parents disputed the legal custody and visitation rights for their daughter; the mother resided in Alaska and the father resided on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation in Montana. The superior court awarded sole legal c...

Brooks v. Horner  
Date: March 11, 2015
Docket Number: S-15341

Justia Opinion Summary: Ronald Brooks was a director and one-third shareholder of W.B.H. Corp., a closely held Alaska corporation formed in 1991. The other two shareholder-directors were Joann Horner and Helen Warner. At the times relevant to t...

In Re Estate of Bavilla  
Date: March 6, 2015
Citation: 343 P.3d 905
Docket Number: S-15582

Justia Opinion Summary: Offenesia Yako Bavilla died in 2010. In 1987, Offenesia executed a will that left most of her assets to her children Etta and Steven. In the mid-2000s Offenesia was elderly and "slipping mentally." In November 2005 a doc...

Sylvia L. v. Dept. of Health & Social Services  
Date: February 20, 2015
Citation: 343 P.3d 425
Docket Number: S-15586

Justia Opinion Summary: A mother appealed the termination of her parental rights to three of her children. She argued that the trial court erred in: (1) finding that the children were children in need of aid because of the mother’s mental illne...

Goldsbury v. Alaska  
Date: February 13, 2015
Citation: 342 P.3d 834
Docket Number: S-15393

Justia Opinion Summary: A criminal defendant exercised his constitutional right not to testify at trial. The prosecutor, in her rebuttal closing argument, commented that two people knew what had happened on the night in question, and only one o...

Moreno v. Alaska  
Date: January 30, 2015
Citation: 341 P.3d 1134
Docket Numbers: S-15067, S-15070

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendants in two criminal cases failed to object to errors at trial: in "Moreno v. Alaska," the admission of improper testimony regarding Jorge Moreno's exercise of his right to be free from compelled self-incrimination...

Hughes v. Treadwell  
Date: January 30, 2015
Citation: 341 P.3d 1121
Docket Number: S-15468

Justia Opinion Summary: Appellants Richard Hughes, the Alaska Miners Association, and the Council of Alaska Producers challenged Lieutenant Governor Mead Treadwell's certification of a ballot initiative that would require final legislative appr...

Bush v. Elkins  
Date: January 23, 2015
Citation: 342 P.3d 1245
Docket Number: S-14947

Justia Opinion Summary: An adult passenger in a car was injured in a single-car accident. The passenger and his family brought suit against the vehicle’s unlicensed minor driver, the minor’s mother, the owner of the car, the insurance policy ho...

RBG Bush Planes, LLC v. Kirk  
Date: January 9, 2015
Citation: 340 P.3d 1056
Docket Number: S-15217

Justia Opinion Summary: Robert Gillam and two of his business ventures filed suit, alleging that the Alaska Public Offices Commission should not have been allowed to investigate and decide whether Gillam and his businesses had committed certain...

Shirley M. v. Alaska Dept. of Health & Social Svcs.  
Date: January 9, 2015
Citation: 342 P.3d 1233
Docket Number: S-15472

Justia Opinion Summary: Shirley M. was the mother of Abigail, born in April 2010. For many years violence, prostitution, reported substance abuse, and other crimes consumed Shirley’s life. Abigail was Shirley’s fifth child: Haily was born in 20...

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