Miller v. Northside Danzi Construction Company: Immunity, the Contractor-Under Clause and Alaska's Workers' Compensation Act
In Miller v. Northside Danzi Construction Co., "the Alaska Supreme Court held that a general contractor," required by Alaska's Workers' Compensation Act to pay compensation to an uninsured subcontractor's injured employee, is not immune from liability at common law for the same injuries. Interpreting narrowly the Act's "employer" definition, the court prohibited the general contractor from asserting the exclusive liability defense granted to the primary employer who pays compensation to its injured employee, and thus permitted the injured worker to claim awards under the Act and independently at common law. By allowing the injured employee recovery from the contractor on both statutory no fault and negligence grounds the court upset the balance created by the Act's compensation scheme, created internal inconsistencies in the Act's wording, and forced distinction between parties who, for purposes of compensation payments, should be equals.
Timothy R. Gosselin, Miller v. Northside Danzi Construction Company: Immunity, the Contractor-Under Clause and Alaska's Workers' Compensation Act, 5 SEATTLE U. L. REV. 351 (1982).