Alaska Supreme Court Decisions 2018

Fox v. Grace  
Date: December 28, 2018
Docket Number: S-16996

Justia Opinion Summary: An Alaskan superior court denied a father’s motion to modify custody because it did not believe it had subject matter jurisdiction under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) to modify an Or...

Hess v. Alaska  
Date: December 21, 2018
Docket Number: S-16466

Justia Opinion Summary: Christopher Hess was convicted by jury of second and third degree assault. He appealed, arguing that the superior court committed plain error by not addressing improper statements in the prosecutor’s closing arguments. T...

In Re Hospitalization of Paige M.  
Date: December 21, 2018
Docket Number: S-16834

Justia Opinion Summary: A psychologist at a mental health clinic petitioned to have a patient involuntarily hospitalized. The superior court held a hearing on the petition at which only the psychologist gave substantive testimony. The court gra...

Moody v. Royal Wolf Lodge  
Date: December 14, 2018
Docket Numbers: S-16713, S-16733

Justia Opinion Summary: After a bench trial, the superior court determined that a pilot who flew seasonally for a remote wilderness lodge, was a professional employee and therefore subject to an exemption from the overtime requirements of the A...

Strong v. Williams  
Date: December 14, 2018
Docket Number: S-16730

Justia Opinion Summary: A man sued his neighbors, alleging that an access road on their property caused flooding on his property. After he reached a settlement with the neighbors, the man stipulated to a dismissal of his claims with prejudice....

Georgette S.B. v. Scott B.  
Date: December 7, 2018
Docket Number: S-16687

Justia Opinion Summary: A mother appealed an order modifying custody, which awarded sole legal and physical custody of her three children to the father and limited her to supervised visitation pending the children’s full engagement in therapy....

Edith A. v. Jonah A.  
Date: December 7, 2018
Docket Number: S-16818

Justia Opinion Summary: A divorced mother and father shared joint legal custody of their son. The mother moved for a modification of legal custody, alleging that the father was failing to cooperate on important issues such as counseling, the se...

Fletcher v. Fletcher  
Date: November 30, 2018
Docket Number: S-16508

Justia Opinion Summary: Linda and David Fletcher were married in 1990. They had three children, one of whom was a minor at the time of their 2015 divorce trial. Linda twice petitioned for domestic violence protective orders against David during...

In Re Adoption of E.H. and J.H.  
Date: November 16, 2018
Docket Number: S-16710

Justia Opinion Summary: Two young siblings were removed from their biological parents’ home and placed with a foster family. The maternal biological grandparents remained involved in the children’s lives and sought to adopt them, as did the fos...

Levi v. State, Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development  
Date: November 16, 2018
Docket Number: S-16876

Justia Opinion Summary: Steven Levi appealed a superior court decision affirming a Department of Labor and Workforce Development order requiring him to repay several months of unemployment insurance benefits plus interest and penalties because...

Duke S. v. Alaska, Dept. of Health & Social Services, Office of Children's Services  
Date: November 16, 2018
Docket Number: S-16932

Justia Opinion Summary: The superior court terminated a father’s parental rights to his son, finding that the child was in need of aid because of abandonment, neglect, and the father’s incarceration and that the Office of Children’s Services (O...

Burns-Marshall v. Krogman  
Date: November 9, 2018
Docket Number: S-16808

Justia Opinion Summary: A divorcing couple disputed custody of their child and division of their marital property. The wife alleged for the first time during trial that the husband had engaged in a pattern of domestic violence. The court found...

Alaska v. Groppel  
Date: November 2, 2018
Docket Number: S-16592

Justia Opinion Summary: Conar Groppel was charged with first- and second-degree murder, manslaughter, first- and second-degree arson, first-degree criminal mischief, first-degree burglary, and evidence tampering. Groppel notified the superior c...

Michael W. v. Brown  
Date: November 2, 2018
Docket Number: S-16662

Justia Opinion Summary: The superior court appointed a child’s grandparents as his guardians after finding that the father’s parental rights of custody had been suspended by circumstances because it would be detrimental to the child’s welfare t...

Graham v. Durr  
Date: October 26, 2018
Docket Number: S-16554

Justia Opinion Summary: Stacey Graham pleaded guilty to second-degree murder after striking and killing two pedestrians while driving intoxicated. He was sued by the victims’ families. Graham appealed his sentence, arguing he could assert the p...

Erwin v. Mendenhall  
Date: October 19, 2018
Docket Numbers: S-16517, S-16487

Justia Opinion Summary: The superior court awarded one of the husband’s investment accounts to his wife in a divorce. Before transferring the account, the husband transferred shares of three mutual funds from that account to a separate investme...

Patterson v. Walker  
Date: October 19, 2018
Citation: 429 P.3d 829
Docket Number: S-16569

Justia Opinion Summary: Kevin Patterson has been incarcerated since 2013, having been convicted after a bench trial of seven counts of possession of child pornography. In May 2015 Patterson filed a 121-page civil complaint in superior court in...

Dickson v. Alaska, Dept. of Natural Resources  
Date: October 5, 2018
Docket Number: S-16468

Justia Opinion Summary: Kelly Dickson and Donna DeFusco owned adjacent parcels of land near Big Lake. The property’s original 160 acres were homesteaded in 1958 by their father, Benjamin Cowart, who received a patent from the federal government...

Demetria H. v. Alaska, Dept. of Health & Social Services, Office of Children's Services  
Date: October 5, 2018
Docket Number: S-16826

Justia Opinion Summary: A mother appealed the termination of her parental rights to her son, an Indian child. She argued the trial court violated the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) by finding that the Office of Children’s Services (OCS) made a...

Marcy v. Matanuska-Susitna Borough  
Date: September 28, 2018
Docket Number: S-16617

Justia Opinion Summary: Appellant Ronda Marcy, resident of Matanuska-Susitna Borough, filed suit against the borough and citizens who had sponsored a borough ballot initiative prohibiting commercial marijuana businesses. The suit, filed 32 days...

Lewis G. v. Cassie Y.  
Date: September 28, 2018
Citation: 426 P.3d 1136
Docket Number: S-16761

Justia Opinion Summary: A mother moved from Texas to Alaska, taking her two children with her. The father, still residing in Texas, filed for divorce. The parties executed a settlement agreement awarding joint legal custody of the children to t...

Sarah A. v. Alaska, Dept. of Health & Social Services, Office of Children's Services  
Date: September 28, 2018
Citation: 427 P.3d 771
Docket Number: S-16880

Justia Opinion Summary: A mother appealed the termination of her parental rights to her son on findings of abandonment, mental injury, neglect and parental substance abuse. The mother challenged none of the superior court’s factual findings; ra...

Lum v. Koles  
Date: September 21, 2018
Citation: 426 P.3d 1103
Docket Number: S-16057

Justia Opinion Summary: The Lum family sued two police officers and the North Slope Borough for trespass and invasion of privacy after an allegedly unlawful entry into the Lums’ home. The superior court dismissed both claims on summary judgment...

Johnson v. J.G. Pattee, Inc.  
Date: September 21, 2018
Citation: 426 P.3d 1096
Docket Number: S-16303

Justia Opinion Summary: An expert witness in a personal injury trial varied from his written report, expressing new opinions to justify a bar employee's use of force. The plaintiff sought to cross-examine the expert with testimony the expert ha...

Atkins v. Inlet Transportation & Taxi Service, Inc.  
Date: September 21, 2018
Citation: 426 P.3d 1124
Docket Number: S-16485

Justia Opinion Summary: A taxi driver injured in an accident while working filed a report with the Alaska Workers' Compensation Board. The nature of the relationship between the taxi company and the driver was disputed. The driver retained an a...

Christopher D. v. Krislyn D.  
Date: September 21, 2018
Citation: 426 P.3d 1118
Docket Numbers: S-16586, S-16626

Justia Opinion Summary: The superior court awarded a mother primary physical custody of a couple’s two children and ordered the father to pay child support. Both parents appealed: the father contended the superior court abused its discretion wh...

Fredrickson v. Button  
Date: September 14, 2018
Citation: 426 P.3d 1047
Docket Number: S-15857

Justia Opinion Summary: Forest Button and Shelley Fredrickson never married, but they had one child together. Button and Fredrickson separated in September 2006. From September 2006 until January 2013 neither sought a formal custody order or a...

Mat-Su Valley Medical Center, LLC v. Bolinder  
Date: September 14, 2018
Citation: 427 P.3d 754
Docket Numbers: S-15920, S-15969

Justia Opinion Summary: Alaska’s medical peer review privilege statute protected discovery of data, information, proceedings, and records of medical peer review organizations, but it did not protect a witness’s personal knowledge and observatio...

Hall v. Hall  
Date: September 14, 2018
Citation: 426 P.3d 1006
Docket Number: S-16083

Justia Opinion Summary: Bertha and Adolph Hall divorced in 2015 and disputed whether certain pieces of real property in Louisiana and Mississippi were separate or marital. The superior court relied on provisions in a document titled a last will...

Simmons v. Alaska, Dept. of Corrections  
Date: September 14, 2018
Citation: 426 P.3d 1011
Docket Number: S-16171

Justia Opinion Summary: Alaska inmate David Simmons refused to provide a DNA sample for Alaska’s DNA identification registration system pursuant to a statutory requirement that persons convicted of certain crimes provide a DNA sample for the sy...

Griswold v. Homer City Council  
Date: September 14, 2018
Citation: 428 P.3d 180
Docket Number: S-16236

Justia Opinion Summary: Frank Griswold submitted public records requests to the City of Homer, seeking all records of communications between members of the Homer Board of Adjustment, City employees, and attorneys for the City leading up to the...

Harper v. Biolife Energy Systems, Inc.  
Date: September 14, 2018
Citation: 426 P.3d 1067
Docket Number: S-16488

Justia Opinion Summary: Paulette Harper sued two New York corporations in Alaska superior court alleging violations of her right of publicity and right of privacy. Her claims related to an allegedly false account regarding her recovery from can...

In Re Darren M.  
Date: September 14, 2018
Citation: 426 P.3d 1021
Docket Number: S-16524

Justia Opinion Summary: After an involuntary commitment trial, the superior court issued an order committing respondent Darren M. to the Alaska Psychiatric Institute (API) for 90 days. He appealed, arguing the jury was incorrectly instructed on...

Cox v. Estate of Steve Cooper  
Date: September 14, 2018
Citation: 426 P.3d 1032
Docket Number: S-16570

Justia Opinion Summary: This case concerned the interpretation of Alaska’s usury statute and whether it provided for a maximum interest rate on contract or loan commitments in which the principal amount exceeds $25,000. William Cox argued the s...

City of Kodiak v. Kodiak Public Broadcasting Corporation  
Date: September 14, 2018
Citation: 426 P.3d 1089
Docket Number: S-16598

Justia Opinion Summary: After prevailing against the City of Kodiak on a Public Records Act claim, Kodiak Public Broadcasting Corporation (known by the call letters of its radio station, KMXT) was awarded full attorney’s fees under AS 09.60.010...

Griswold v. Homer Board of Adjustment  
Date: September 14, 2018
Citation: 426 P.3d 1044
Docket Number: S-16660

Justia Opinion Summary: Frank Griswold twice appealed the Homer Advisory Planning Commission’s approval of a conditional use permit to the Homer Board of Adjustment and later appealed the Board’s second decision to the superior court, which sua...

Corkery v. Municipality of Anchorage  
Date: September 14, 2018
Citation: 426 P.3d 1078
Docket Number: S-16684

Justia Opinion Summary: Homeowners Brooke and Patrick Corkery appealed the denial of their application of a variance by the Anchorage Zoning Board of Examiners and Appeals. The homeowners’ house exceeded the 30% lot coverage limit for their zon...

Dara S. v. Alaska, Dept. of Health & Social Services, Office of Children's Services  
Date: September 7, 2018
Citation: 426 P.3d 975
Docket Numbers: S-16527, S-16526, S-16126

Justia Opinion Summary: The issue this case presented for the Alaska Supreme Court centered on the termination of parental rights and reinstatement. This review necessitated revisiting issues arising from Rita T. v. Alaska, 623 P.2d 344 (1981),...

Blair v. Federal Insurance Company  
Date: September 7, 2018
Docket Number: S-16388

Justia Opinion Summary: Daniel Blair, a seaman, sued his former employer and the former employer’s liability insurer, claiming that the insurer had failed to pay him amounts due under the terms of a settlement agreement. Blair asserted that the...

Huber v. Alaska, Dept. of Corrections  
Date: August 31, 2018
Citation: 426 P.3d 969
Docket Number: S-16190

Justia Opinion Summary: Federal law mandated a prison disciplinary decision include a written statement of the evidence relied on and the reasons for the decision. In this case, the superior court affirmed a decision finding a prisoner “guilty”...

Alaska State Commission for Human Rights v. Anderson  
Date: August 31, 2018
Citation: 426 P.3d 956
Docket Number: S-16197

Justia Opinion Summary: The Commission for Human Rights is responsible for enforcing Alaska’s anti-discrimination laws. The Commission’s staff is authorized by regulation to use a variety of investigative methods. These include witness intervie...

Alaska, Dept. of Natural Resources v. Alaskan Crude Corporation  
Date: August 31, 2018
Docket Numbers: S-16417, S-16308

Justia Opinion Summary: An oil and gas lessee conducted drilling activity on the last day of the lease term; the lease provided that such activity would extend the term. Two days later, however, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) sent th...

Geldermann v. Geldermann  
Date: August 31, 2018
Citation: 428 P.3d 477
Docket Numbers: S-16381, S-16401

Justia Opinion Summary: Darcey and Matthew Geldermann, parents of a young son, divorced in 2011, agreeing that the mother would have primary physical custody during the school year. The father moved to California. When the child began experienc...

Lee v. Sheldon  
Date: August 31, 2018
Citation: 427 P.3d 745
Docket Numbers: S-16442, S-16471

Justia Opinion Summary: Following mediation, a trust beneficiary and a trustee signed a document purporting to settle a bitter family litigation and referring future disputes to the mediator for resolution. The beneficiary subsequently denied t...

Nageak v. Mallott  
Date: August 31, 2018
Citation: 426 P.3d 930
Docket Numbers: S-16462, S-16492, S-16494

Justia Opinion Summary: In 2016, a recount was ordered to settle a very close Alaska Democratic Party primary election for House District 40. Dean Westlake was declared the victor by eight votes. The defeated candidate, Benjamin Nageak, brought...

Tomal v. Anderson  
Date: August 31, 2018
Citation: 426 P.3d 915
Docket Numbers: S-16720, S-16760

Justia Opinion Summary: Alaska case law has treated the end of a domestic partnership as coextensive with both the end of a marriage-like relationship and the end of the partners’ cohabitation. But this appeal presented a novel factual circumst...

Eberhart v. Alaska Public Offices Commission  
Date: August 24, 2018
Citation: 426 P.3d 890
Docket Number: S-16187

Justia Opinion Summary: A complaint filed with the Alaska Public Offices Commission (APOC) against John Eberhart was filed when he was a city council member, alleging Eberhart had improperly used government resources in his campaign for mayor o...

Boiko v. Kapolchok  
Date: August 24, 2018
Citation: 426 P.3d 868
Docket Numbers: S-16512, S-16482

Justia Opinion Summary: A self-represented couple sued their lawyer for legal malpractice. After lengthy and contentious discovery disputes, at the end of which the couple was sanctioned, the couple retained counsel to assist them in terminatin...

HDI-Gerling America Insurance Company v. Carlile Transportation Systems, Inc.  
Date: August 24, 2018
Citation: 426 P.3d 881
Docket Numbers: S-16584, S-16604

Justia Opinion Summary: One night in February 2014 Carlile Transportation Systems, Inc. driver Bart Neal was driving a tractor-trailer southbound on the Dalton Highway. Neal could not steer properly at speeds above 35 miles per hour and decided...

Alaska v. Alaska Democratic Party  
Date: August 24, 2018
Citation: 426 P.3d 901
Docket Number: S-16875

Justia Opinion Summary: The Alaska Democratic Party amended its bylaws to allow registered independent voters to run as candidates in its primary elections without having to become Democratic Party members. But the Division of Elections refused...

Ball v. Allstate Insurance Company  
Date: August 17, 2018
Citation: 426 P.3d 862
Docket Number: S-16573

Justia Opinion Summary: Allstate Insurance Company denied underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage to Nathan Ball for an accident involving his own vehicle after determining he was not an insured person under his then-fiancée’s parents’ Allstate au...

Brennan v. Brennan  
Date: August 10, 2018
Citation: 425 P.3d 99
Docket Number: S-15576

Justia Opinion Summary: At the time of separation, Kelly and Rachael Brennan controlled substantial assets, including a successful fishing business, Individual Fishing Quotas (IFQs) that Kelly obtained prior to his marriage to Rachael, and a la...

Alaska, Dept. of Public Safety v. Doe I  
Date: August 10, 2018
Citation: 425 P.3d 115
Docket Numbers: S-15821, S-16403

Justia Opinion Summary: John Doe I and John Doe II were two separate individuals required by the Department of Public Safety (DPS) to register as sex offenders in Alaska based on their out-of-state convictions. DPS argued Doe I’s Washington con...

Whalen v. Whalen  
Date: August 10, 2018
Citation: 425 P.3d 150
Docket Number: S-16200

Justia Opinion Summary: Sarah and Sean Whalen married in May 2004 and had three children. They separated in 2012, divorced in 2015. Sarah had petitioned for multiple domestic violence protective orders against Sean, some of which had been grant...

Weathers v. Weathers  
Date: August 10, 2018
Citation: 425 P.3d 131
Docket Number: S-16610

Justia Opinion Summary: Rowena Weathers (mother) appealed the superior court’s custody modification order awarding Dennis Weathers (father) physical custody of their daughter 59% of the year. Previously, pursuant to the parties’ divorce settlem...

Gordon v. Gordon  
Date: August 10, 2018
Citation: 425 P.3d 142
Docket Number: S-16639

Justia Opinion Summary: Gregory and Patricia Gordon were divorced by decree; the decree divided the marital estate. One of the largest components of the marital estate was a retirement medical benefit earned by Patricia during the marriage thro...

Daves v. McKinley  
Date: August 10, 2018
Citation: 425 P.3d 92
Docket Number: S-16751

Justia Opinion Summary: The superior court awarded custody of a child to her maternal grandmother. When the father later moved for a modification of custody, the court denied the motion on the ground that there had been no substantial change in...

Mallott v. Stand for Salmon  
Date: August 8, 2018
Docket Number: S-16862

Justia Opinion Summary: The Lieutenant Governor of Alaska declined to certify a proposed ballot initiative that would establish a permitting requirement for activities that could harm anadromous fish habitat, reasoning that the initiative effec...

Mengisteab v. Oates  
Date: August 3, 2018
Citation: 425 P.3d 80
Docket Number: S-15986

Justia Opinion Summary: Nuria Mengisteab filed a motion to modify custody to relocate with the parties’ young son, Saul, to another state, and then moved two days later. After several months the superior court ordered that the child return to A...

Gross v. Wilson  
Date: July 27, 2018
Citation: 424 P.3d 390
Docket Number: S-16302

Justia Opinion Summary: Robert Gross and Dawn Wilson married in August 1992; Gross filed for divorce in August 2012. The parties resolved issues raised in the divorce action in a written settlement agreement incorporated into a divorce decree i...

Brooks Range Petroleum Corporation v. Shearer  
Date: July 27, 2018
Citation: 425 P.3d 65
Docket Number: S-16382

Justia Opinion Summary: Daniel Shearer alleged Brooks Range Petroleum Corporation (BRPC) promised him a ten-year term of employment, then terminated his employment two and a half years later. Shearer sued in the Alaska Second Judicial District,...

Vince B. v. Sarah B.  
Date: July 27, 2018
Citation: 425 P.3d 55
Docket Number: S-16616

Justia Opinion Summary: Vince B. appealed a long-term domestic violence protective order entered against him for stalking his ex-wife. The couple separated two and a half years prior to their divorce; the proceedings were prolonged and unfriend...

Pingree v. Cossette  
Date: July 27, 2018
Citation: 424 P.3d 371
Docket Number: S-16763

Justia Opinion Summary: Beth Pingree and Andre Cossette had a daughter together and then separated while the daughter was still very young. The parents lived in different towns and alternated physical custody of the daughter. After they were un...

Jensen D. v. Alaska Dept. of Health & Social Services, Office of Children's Services  
Date: July 27, 2018
Citation: 424 P.3d 385
Docket Number: S-16774

Justia Opinion Summary: A mother appealed the superior court’s decision to terminate her parental rights to her seven-year-old daughter. She moved to represent herself in the middle of trial; on appeal she contended the superior court abused it...

Estate of Seward  
Date: July 20, 2018
Docket Number: S-15561

Justia Opinion Summary: A man asserted in a probate proceeding that he was the decedent’s son and requested a paternity determination. The personal representative opposed the request, arguing that a paternity determination could not be made in...

Keenan v. Meyer  
Date: July 20, 2018
Citation: 424 P.3d 351
Docket Number: S-16176

Justia Opinion Summary: Landowners sued their neighbors over use of a well and an access easement, and the neighbors counterclaimed for damages caused by interference with their water rights and loss of access to their cabin. The superior court...

Fink v. Municipality of Anchorage  
Date: July 20, 2018
Citation: 424 P.3d 338
Docket Number: S-16451

Justia Opinion Summary: Property Owners appealed special assessments that the Anchorage Municipal Assembly levied on their lots to pay for recently constructed road, water, and sewer improvement projects benefiting the lots. The Property Owners...

Arcticorp v. C Care Services, LLC  
Date: July 20, 2018
Citation: 424 P.3d 365
Docket Number: S-16452

Justia Opinion Summary: A commercial tenant breached its lease and owed unpaid rent. The landlord sued and obtained a writ of attachment against any funds owed the tenant from Alaska’s Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS). DHSS repli...

Nicolos v. North Slope Borough  
Date: July 13, 2018
Citation: 424 P.3d 318
Docket Number: S-16428

Justia Opinion Summary: The North Slope Borough discharged employee Tom Nicolos after he made statements that Borough employees interpreted as threats. Nicolos appealed the superior court’s order approving the Borough Personnel Board’s decision...

Laura B. v. Wade B.  
Date: July 6, 2018
Citation: 424 P.3d 315
Docket Number: S-16889

Justia Opinion Summary: A father requested primary physical custody of his daughter, modifying a previous shared custody arrangement. The mother opposed the change, arguing there had not been a substantial change in circumstances. The superior...

Hester v. Landau  
Date: June 29, 2018
Citation: 420 P.3d 1285
Docket Number: S-15809

Justia Opinion Summary: Aurora Landau was a dancer at the Showboat Show Club in Anchorage. She filed a complaint against Showboat Show Club Anchorage, LLC, seeking to recover unpaid wages, overtime compensation, and impermissible deductions fro...

Miller v. Fowler  
Date: June 29, 2018
Citation: 424 P.3d 306
Docket Number: S-16538

Justia Opinion Summary: In 2009 Calvin Miller purchased from June Fowler by warranty deed an eight-unit, three-story apartment building located in Anchorage. Miller filed suit to bar the seller’s attempt to foreclose on the property after he st...

Jones v. Drury  
Date: June 22, 2018
Citation: 422 P.3d 568
Docket Number: S-16436

Justia Opinion Summary: The Alaska Supreme Court granted this petition for review to consider how the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) affected Alaska personal injury case law allowing a defendant ex p...

Manning v. Alaska Dept. of Fish & Game  
Date: June 22, 2018
Citation: 420 P.3d 1270
Docket Numbers: S-16511, S-16531

Justia Opinion Summary: This appeal was one in a series of successive appeals brought by Kenneth Manning challenging the moose and caribou subsistence hunt regulations that governed a portion of southcentral Alaska. Manning filed this lawsuit i...

Cottini v. Berggren  
Date: June 15, 2018
Citation: 420 P.3d 1255
Docket Number: S-16312

Justia Opinion Summary: A former agent appointed under a power of attorney, successfully defended an accounting of his actions, expenditures, and fees against objections and counterclaims by his former principal. At issue in this appeal was whe...

Public Safety Employees Association v. City of Fairbanks  
Date: June 15, 2018
Citation: 420 P.3d 1243
Docket Numbers: S-16501, S-16510

Justia Opinion Summary: This case arose out of disputed collective bargaining negotiations between City of Fairbanks and Public Safety Employees Association, AFSCME Local 803 (PSEA). PSEA was the labor representative for the City’s police and d...

Solomon v. Solomon  
Date: June 8, 2018
Citation: 420 P.3d 1234
Docket Number: S-16696

Justia Opinion Summary: In issuing a divorce decree between Terrace Solomon and Wendy Barnes (formerly Solomon), the issue of custody was reserved to be decided at a later trial. Before the custody trial could be held, Terrace was arrested and...

Kailyn S. v. State, Dept. of Health & Social Services, Office of Children's Services
Date: June 1, 2018
Citation: 420 P.3d 1232
Docket Number: S-16833
Maxwell v. Sosnowski  
Date: May 18, 2018
Citation: 420 P.3d 1227
Docket Number: S-16502

Justia Opinion Summary: The superior court divided J. Jill Maxwell and William Sosnowski's marital property during divorce proceedings. The superior court found that William was entitled to credit for post-separation mortgage payments that he m...

Burke v. Raven Electric, Inc.  
Date: May 11, 2018
Citation: 420 P.3d 1196
Docket Number: S-16137

Justia Opinion Summary: Abigail Caudle was a 26-year-old apprentice electrician when she was electrocuted on the job while working for Raven Electric, Inc. Her mother sought workers’ compensation death benefits or other damages related to her d...

Wiegers v. Richards-Wiegers  
Date: May 11, 2018
Citation: 420 P.3d 1180
Docket Number: S-16406

Justia Opinion Summary: A couple divorced after nearly 30 years of marriage. The husband appealed the superior court’s valuation of his corporate stock and its characterization of the wife’s retirement health benefits as non-marital property. T...

Dunmore v. Dunmore  
Date: May 11, 2018
Citation: 420 P.3d 1187
Docket Numbers: S-16433, S-16523

Justia Opinion Summary: A husband and wife divorced after 40 years of marriage. The wife appealed the superior court’s decision to equally divide their marital property, which consisted primarily of retirement benefits and debt. The superior co...

Hahn v. GEICO Choice Insurance Company  
Date: May 11, 2018
Citation: 420 P.3d 1160
Docket Number: S-16441

Justia Opinion Summary: While sitting on his motorcycle at a stop light, Chad Hahn was thrown backwards when Franklin Townsend’s car failed to stop in time and struck the motorcycle. During settlement negotiations in the suit that followed, Hah...

Kang v. Mullins  
Date: May 11, 2018
Citation: 420 P.3d 1210
Docket Number: S-16560

Justia Opinion Summary: Yong Kang lived in North Pole and rented a house from her son Benjamin. She once owned the house, but she sold it to Benjamin about nine months before the events underlying this dispute, because, as she explained, she wa...

Dean S. v. Alaska Dept. of Health & Social Services  
Date: May 11, 2018
Citation: 420 P.3d 1175
Docket Number: S-16840

Justia Opinion Summary: The biological father of three children validly consented to their adoption in the face of parental rights termination proceedings. Five months later he sought to withdraw his consent. The superior court determined that...

Wyman v. Whitson  
Date: May 4, 2018
Citation: 421 P.3d 99
Docket Number: S-16082

Justia Opinion Summary: Todd Wyman and Richelle Whitson had joint legal custody over their child, and shared physical custody alternating every two years. Each parent had a child support obligation while the child was in the primary custody of...

Jordan v. Alaska  
Date: May 4, 2018
Citation: 420 P.3d 1143
Docket Number: S-16217

Justia Opinion Summary: Police entered the defendant Antonio Jordan’s property and found 15 marijuana plants, which when stripped and dried yielded over a pound and a half of marijuana. At trial, the court excluded the defendant’s testimony tha...

Lane v. City & Borough of Juneau  
Date: April 27, 2018
Citation: 421 P.3d 83
Docket Number: S-16102

Justia Opinion Summary: The City of Juneau kept a campground open through the winter to accommodate the local homeless population. A campground resident was shot and severely injured. He sued the municipality for damages, arguing primarily that...

Walker v. Alaska Dept. of Corrections  
Date: April 27, 2018
Citation: 421 P.3d 74
Docket Number: S-16202

Justia Opinion Summary: The Alaska Department of Corrections (DOC) found an inmate guilty of making a false statement to a staff member about work he was supposed to do. The inmate was ordered to pay in restitution half the amount of his wages...

Pederson v. Arctic Slope Regional Corporation  
Date: April 13, 2018
Citation: 421 P.3d 58
Docket Number: S-16386

Justia Opinion Summary: A corporate shareholder sought a shareholder list to mail proxy solicitations for an annual director election. The corporation required a signed confidentiality agreement in exchange for releasing the list. After obtaini...

Riddle v. Lanser  
Date: April 6, 2018
Citation: 421 P.3d 35
Docket Number: S-15780

Justia Opinion Summary: This appeal presented a question of whether odors emanating from a farmer’s storage of septage on his farmland created a nuisance to adjacent landowners when the trial court found the farmer was not engaged in commercial...

Alaska v. Ranstead  
Date: April 6, 2018
Citation: 421 P.3d 15
Docket Number: S-16365

Justia Opinion Summary: The Alaska court of appeals recently read Roman v. Alaska, 570 P.2d 1235(1977) as requiring that a sentencing court affirmatively review all probation conditions proposed in the presentence report, even if the defendant...

Pease-Madore v. Alaska Dept. of Corrections  
Date: March 30, 2018
Citation: 414 P.3d 671
Docket Numbers: S-16279, S-16289, S-16290

Justia Opinion Summary: Matthew Pease-Madore filed nearly a dozen administrative appeals of prison disciplinary proceedings in the superior court; he filed three appeals from the superior court’s decisions with the Alaska Supreme Court. The fir...

Holmes v. Holmes  
Date: March 30, 2018
Citation: 414 P.3d 662
Docket Number: S-16387

Justia Opinion Summary: The superior court issued an order modifying a father’s child support obligation. The father appealed, arguing that the court erred in multiple respects. He argued the court erred in disallowing his claimed business loss...

Lindbo v. Colaska, Inc.  
Date: March 23, 2018
Citation: 414 P.3d 646
Docket Number: S-16054

Justia Opinion Summary: An asphalt plant operator threw a can at a driver waiting outside his truck to get his attention, striking him in the back. The driver dropped to his hands and knees after being struck, and went to an emergency room for...

Schack v. Schack  
Date: March 23, 2018
Citation: 414 P.3d 639
Docket Number: S-16438

Justia Opinion Summary: A family rushed to the scene of a car accident, only to discover that it had been caused by a family member, who soon thereafter died from her traumatic injuries. The family brought a bystander claim against the deceased...

Alaska Association of Naturopathic Physicians v. Alaska Division of Corporations, Business & Professional Licensing  
Date: March 16, 2018
Citation: 414 P.3d 630
Docket Number: S-16530

Justia Opinion Summary: An association representing naturopathic physicians challenged a new Alaska regulation that effectively forbade naturopaths from using and prescribing injectable vitamins and minerals. The association argued the statutor...

Toni 1 Trust v. Wacker  
Date: March 2, 2018
Citation: 413 P.3d 1199
Docket Number: S-16153

Justia Opinion Summary: After a Montana state court issued a series of judgments against Donald Tangwall and his family, the family members transferred two pieces of property to the “Toni 1 Trust,” a trust allegedly created under Alaska law. A...

Hooks v. Alaska USA Federal Credit Union  
Date: March 2, 2018
Citation: 413 P.3d 1192
Docket Number: S-16521

Justia Opinion Summary: Rand Hooks, Jr. defaulted on a loan, leading to a non-judicial foreclosure of a deed of trust on his property. He filed suit against the property’s new owner and the credit union that initiated the foreclosure, arguing t...

Diego K. v. Dept. of Health & Social Services  
Date: February 23, 2018
Citation: 411 P.3d 622
Docket Number: S-16374

Justia Opinion Summary: Parents appealed a superior court’s order that found the Office of Children’s Services (OCS) had satisfied the Indian Child Welfare Act’s (ICWA) requirements authorizing the removal of their daughter, an Indian child, fr...

Farr v. Little  
Date: February 23, 2018
Citation: 411 P.3d 630
Docket Number: S-16629

Justia Opinion Summary: Unmarried parents separated and asked the superior court for a custody and child support order. The father was receiving military disability payments but was otherwise unemployed. In calculating his child support liabili...

Wassillie v. Alaska  
Date: February 16, 2018
Citation: 411 P.3d 595
Docket Number: S-16239

Justia Opinion Summary: In early 2010 Alvin Wassillie was serving out the remainder of a felony sentence at the Parkview Center halfway house in Anchorage. On February 19 he left Parkview on a pass to look for a job. Around the time of his retu...

Olivera v. Rude-Olivera  
Date: February 16, 2018
Citation: 411 P.3d 587
Docket Number: S-16260

Justia Opinion Summary: An ex-husband challenged three decisions made by the superior court during divorce proceedings. He argued the court erred by: (1) failing to enforce the mandatory disclosure requirements of the Alaska Civil Rules with re...

Kessler v. Kessler  
Date: February 16, 2018
Citation: 411 P.3d 616
Docket Number: S-16458

Justia Opinion Summary: Kenneth Kessler purchased a condominium in the summer of 1999, shortly before he and Dianna Kessler began dating. Kenneth and Dianna lived in that condominium for nearly all of their 15-year relationship. In its property...

Odom v. Alaska Division of Corporations, Business & Professional Licensing  
Date: February 9, 2018
Docket Number: S-16151

Justia Opinion Summary: The Alaska state professional licensing division brought an accusation of professional misconduct against a doctor, alleging that he acted incompetently when he prescribed phentermine and thyroid hormone for one of his p...

Alaska Dept. of Health & Social Services v. Michelle P  
Date: February 9, 2018
Citation: 411 P.3d 576
Docket Numbers: S-16594, S-16574

Justia Opinion Summary: The superior court dismissed a Child in Need of Aid (CINA) petition because it believed it no longer had jurisdiction over the case after the disposition order granting the Office of Children’s Services (OCS) custody of...

Reeves v. Godspeed Properties, LLC  
Date: January 26, 2018
Citation: 411 P.3d 560
Docket Numbers: S-15461, S-15482

Justia Opinion Summary: Two adjoining landowners disputed the creation and continuing validity of an easement for ingress and egress. The superior court held that a valid easement was created but had been extinguished by prescription. The issue...

Beecher v. City of Cordova  
Date: January 19, 2018
Citation: 408 P.3d 1208
Docket Number: S-16445

Justia Opinion Summary: The City of Cordova evicted commercial tenants from city-owned land and was granted a money judgment against them for unpaid rent and sales taxes. The tenants left behind various improvements, as well as items of persona...

Ruerup v. Ruerup  
Date: January 12, 2018
Citation: 408 P.3d 1203
Docket Number: S-16278

Justia Opinion Summary: A mother appealed a superior court’s decision to modify a long-term domestic violence protective order against her ex-husband. The protective order was issued by a magistrate judge, based on his findings that the father...

Moore v. McGillis  
Date: January 12, 2018
Citation: 408 P.3d 1196
Docket Number: S-16375

Justia Opinion Summary: A mother moved to modify an existing custody arrangement with her ex-husband. She asked that she be given primary custody of their daughter and that the ex­ husband’s visitation rights and legal custody over her son (the...

Kiva O. v. Alaska Dept. of Health & Social Svcs.  
Date: January 5, 2018
Citation: 408 P.3d 1181
Docket Number: S-16605

Justia Opinion Summary: An Indian child in the custody of the Office of Children’s Services (OCS) was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and depression. The child’s psychiatrist recommended treating him with an antidepressant, with t...

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