Municipality of Anchorage v. Adamson

[EMPLOYMENT LAW]

In Municipality of Anchorage v. Adamson,[1] the supreme court held that in order to stay future medical benefits, an employer must demonstrate “the existence of the probability” that an appeal of a workers’ compensation decision will be decided against the compensation recipient.[2] This case consolidated two lower court cases.[3] In one case, the Municipality of Anchorage appealed an Alaska Workers’ Compensation Board (the “Board”) decision awarding compensation, arguing that medical benefits should be stayed under the standard of “probability of success on the merits.”[4] The Alaska Workers’ Compensation Appeals Commission (the “Commission”) subsequently refused the stay because the Municipality had not shown that it was more likely than not that the appeal would prevail on the merits.[5] In the other case, the City and Borough of Juneau (“CBJ”) similarly appealed a Board decision, asking for a stay of future medical benefits under the standard that it was more likely than not that the merits of the appeal would be decided in CBJ’s favor.[6] The Commission applied a substantial question standard and, finding that CBJ raised a “serious and substantial question” about the claim, granted the stay.[7] The supreme court affirmed the “probability of success on the merits” standard, reasoning that the correct standard must balance the hardships likely faced by both the employer and the employee in these types of cases.[8] Thus, according to the court, this high threshold was necessary since medical benefits were ongoing benefits that acted as a salary substitute for injured employees.[9] Reviewing the two consolidated cases, the supreme court held that in order to stay future medical benefits, an employer must demonstrate “the existence of the probability” that an appeal of a workers’ compensation decision will be decided against the compensation recipient.[10]



[1] 301 P.3d 569 (Alaska 2013).

[2] Id. at 571.

[3] Id. at 571–72.

[4] Id.

[5] Id. at 572.

[6] Id.

[7] Id. at 573.

[8] Id. at 578–79.

[9] Id. at 578.

[10] Id. at 571.

Municipality of Anchorage v. Adamson

[EMPLOYMENT LAW]

In Municipality of Anchorage v. Adamson,[1] the supreme court held that in order to stay future medical benefits, an employer must demonstrate “the existence of the probability” that an appeal of a workers’ compensation decision will be decided against the compensation recipient.[2] This case consolidated two lower court cases.[3] In one case, the Municipality of Anchorage appealed an Alaska Workers’ Compensation Board (the “Board”) decision awarding compensation, arguing that medical benefits should be stayed under the standard of “probability of success on the merits.”[4] The Alaska Workers’ Compensation Appeals Commission (the “Commission”) subsequently refused the stay because the Municipality had not shown that it was more likely than not that the appeal would prevail on the merits.[5] In the other case, the City and Borough of Juneau (“CBJ”) similarly appealed a Board decision, asking for a stay of future medical benefits under the standard that it was more likely than not that the merits of the appeal would be decided in CBJ’s favor.[6] The Commission applied a substantial question standard and, finding that CBJ raised a “serious and substantial question” about the claim, granted the stay.[7] The supreme court affirmed the “probability of success on the merits” standard, reasoning that the correct standard must balance the hardships likely faced by both the employer and the employee in these types of cases.[8] Thus, according to the court, this high threshold was necessary since medical benefits were ongoing benefits that acted as a salary substitute for injured employees.[9] Reviewing the two consolidated cases, the supreme court held that in order to stay future medical benefits, an employer must demonstrate “the existence of the probability” that an appeal of a workers’ compensation decision will be decided against the compensation recipient.[10]



[1] 301 P.3d 569 (Alaska 2013).

[2] Id. at 571.

[3] Id. at 571–72.

[4] Id.

[5] Id. at 572.

[6] Id.

[7] Id. at 573.

[8] Id. at 578–79.

[9] Id. at 578.

[10] Id. at 571.