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Case Name Harris v. Millennium Hotel PB-AK-0002
Docket / Court S15230 ( State Court )
State/Territory Alaska
Case Type(s) Public Benefits / Government Services
Special Collection Same-Sex Marriage
Attorney Organization Lambda Legal
Case Summary
On September 24, 2012, a plaintiff whose same-sex partner was killed in a work-related accident filed Notice of Constitutional Challenge and Request for Final Decision and Order with the Alaska Workers' Compensation Board. The plaintiff argued that Alaska law guaranteeing benefits to "widows" and " ... read more >
On September 24, 2012, a plaintiff whose same-sex partner was killed in a work-related accident filed Notice of Constitutional Challenge and Request for Final Decision and Order with the Alaska Workers' Compensation Board. The plaintiff argued that Alaska law guaranteeing benefits to "widows" and "widowers" was unconstitutional as state law prevented plaintiff from marrying her same-sex partner. On March 21, 2013, the Alaska Workers' Compensation Board decided that it did not have jurisdiction to decide a constitutional claim and that plaintiff was denied survivor benefits since she and her partner were not legally married.

On July 25, 2013, the plaintiff appealed to the Alaska Supreme Court, arguing that the denial of survivor benefits to same-sex couples violated the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

On July 25, 2014, the Court ruled that marriage could not be used as criteria to judge whether or not a surviving partner in a same-sex couple was entitled to survivors' benefits, because "same-sex couples are absolutely prohibited from marrying under Alaska law." The Court noted that if Alaska's constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage were to be interpreted to prohibit such benefits, it would likely violate the federal equal protection clause. The Court vacated the Alaska Workers' Compensation Appeals Commission's decision and remanded to the Commission for further proceedings consistent with the Court's opinion that such denial violates the equal protection clause.

Carlyn Williams - 01/27/2014
Nadji Allan - 11/06/2014


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Benefit Source
Social Security Retirement and Death Benefit
Constitutional Clause
Equal Protection
Discrimination-basis
Sexual orientatation
General
Disparate Treatment
Gay/lesbian/transgender
Government Services (specify)
Marriage
Public benefits (includes, e.g., in-state tuition, govt. jobs)
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action State law
Defendant(s) Millennium Hotel
New Hampshire Insurance Co.
State of Alaska
Plaintiff Description Plaintiff is the surviving same-sex partner of an employee of the defendant who was killed at work.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Lambda Legal
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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Case Studies Limited Partnership
http://www.limitedpartnershipmovie.com/
By: Thomas G. Miller
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  United States Government says L.A. Gay Couple‚Äôs 1975 Marriage is Valid
The Pride L.A.
Written: Jun. 07, 2016
By: Troy Masters
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
Notice of Constitutional Challenge and Request for Final Decision and Order 09/24/2012
PB-AK-0002-0001.pdf | Detail
Alaska Workers' Compensation Board Final Decision 03/21/2013
PB-AK-0002-0002.pdf | Detail
Alaska Workers' Compensation Appeals Commission Final Decision 06/28/2013
PB-AK-0002-0003.pdf | Detail
Appellant Brief 10/14/2013
PB-AK-0002-0004.pdf | Detail
Opinion 07/25/2014 (330 P.3d 330)
PB-AK-0002-0005.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: State Court Website
Judges None on record
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Croft, Eric (Alaska)
PB-AK-0002-0001
Renn, Peter C. (California)
PB-AK-0002-0001
Defendant's Lawyers None on record
Other Lawyers None on record

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