Alaska Attorney Fees in Workmen’s Compensation Cases

Alaska Attorney Fees in Workmen's Compensation Cases
Ice Biking the Turnagain Arm, Anchorage, Alaska

Lawrence Trudell v. Brent and Debra Hibbert, (Alaska, 2013).  


In a case of first impression, the Alaska Supreme Court addressed the award of attorney fees against project owners.  Normally, worker’s compensation cases are brought as administrative matters.  However, the administrative board has no jurisdiction to foreclose the lien afforded to worker’s compensation claimants that bring claims against a project owner.  Accordingly the employee elected to bring his action before the Superior Court and was the prevailing party.

  1. Employees seeking attorneys fees in workmen’s compensation cases can recover full actual fees if they are the prevailing party, whether they are appealing an adverse board decision or bring an action directly to the Superior Court.
  2. Employees risk paying their adversaries attorney fees only if they are not the prevailing party; and, their asserted positions were “frivolous, unreasonable, or brought in bad faith.”