Adams v. State, Workers’ Compensation Benefit Guaranty Fund
In Adams v. State, Workers’ Compensation Benefit Guaranty Fund, 467 P.3d 1053 (Alaska 2020), the supreme court held that substantive evidence supported the finding that the property owner engaged in the “business or industry” of “buying, managing, and selling real estate” and that the carpenter’s work was part of that business for the purpose of the workers’ compensation case. (Id. at 1064). The Alaska Workers’ Compensation Act (the Act) defines “employer” as “a person employing one or more persons in connection with a business or industry coming with the scope of this chapter and carried on in this state.” (Id. at 1060). The supreme court has previously held that this definition “excludes private common law employees who are employed other than ‘in connection with a business or industry.’” (Id.). The supreme court found substantial evidence to support a decision that the property owner was an employer under the Act, including the property owner’s deposition testimony that he was in the business of “buying, selling, and renting real estate,” an expired business license with real estate listed as its business, and the property owner’s ownership of other properties from which he collected rent. (Id. at 1062–63). The supreme court then declined an argument that having little income removed the business from the Act’s “business or industry” requirement. (Id. at 1063). Therefore, the supreme court held that the property owner was engaged in the “business or industry” of real estate under the Act. (Id. at 1064).