University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
new search
page permalink
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


compress summary

- click to show/hide ALL -
Issues and Causes of Action
click to show/hide detail
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
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
click to show/hide detail
Links William G. v. Pataki
http://www.bazelon.org/william-g-v-pataki/
By: The Bazelon Center (The Bazelon Center)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Disability Rights New Jersey v. Velez
http://www.bazelon.org/drnj-v-velez/
By: The Bazelon Center (The Bazelon Center)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Williams v. Quinn
http://www.bazelon.org/williams-v-quinn/
By: The Bazelon Center (The Bazelon Center)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  United States of America v. Commonwealth of Virginia
http://www.bazelon.org/u-s-v-virginia/
By: The Bazelon Center (The Bazelon Center)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  United States of America v. North Carolina
http://www.bazelon.org/u-s-v-north-carolina/
By: The Bazelon Center (The Bazelon Center)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  U.S. v. Georgia
http://www.bazelon.org/u-s-v-georgia/
By: The Bazelon Center (The Bazelon Center)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  O'Toole v. Cuomo [Formerly DAI v. Cuomo]
http://www.bazelon.org/otoole-v-cuomo/
By: The Bazelon Center (The Bazelon Center)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Amanda D. v. Hassan
http://www.bazelon.org/amanda-d-v-hassan/
By: The Bazelon Center (The Bazelon Center)
[ 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
PB-AK-0002-0001.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 09/24/2012
Alaska Workers' Compensation Board Final Decision
PB-AK-0002-0002.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 03/21/2013
Alaska Workers' Compensation Appeals Commission Final Decision
PB-AK-0002-0003.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 06/28/2013
Appellant Brief
PB-AK-0002-0004.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 10/14/2013
Opinion (330 P.3d 330)
PB-AK-0002-0005.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | External Link | Detail
Date: 07/25/2014
Source: State Court Website
Plaintiff's Lawyers Croft, Eric (Alaska)
PB-AK-0002-0001
Renn, Peter C. (California)
PB-AK-0002-0001

- click to show/hide ALL -

new search
page permalink

- top of page -