Friday, January 20, 2012

Alaska Supreme Court deals nonresident fishermen a costly blow in the long-fought Carlson case

Read the high court's 26-page opinion here.

The Alaska Department of Law issued the following press release:

Jan. 20, 2012

Alaska Supreme Court reduces judgment by $50 million

ANCHORAGE — A unanimous Alaska Supreme Court decided today in the State v. Carlson case to cut approximately $50 million from a judgment awarded to nonresident commercial fishermen who had filed a class action lawsuit against the Alaska Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission.

In so doing, the court overturned one of its own earlier decisions in the case, which had ordered the state to pay the interest rate that applies to delinquent taxes — 11 percent compounded quarterly.

In today's decision, the court substituted the standard prejudgment interest rate for court judgments.

The case was filed in 1984 by non-Alaskan commercial fishermen who disputed the higher commercial fishing fees that Alaska charged to nonresidents.

The state was ordered to refund some of the fees after the court found that while the state can charge higher fees to nonresidents, the additional payment must be related to the nonresidents' share of the state's cost of managing Alaska's commercial fisheries.

The amount of overpaid fees that the state was ordered to refund was approximately $12.5 million and the interest initially awarded for this judgment was about $62 million.

Under today's decision, the interest will be reduced to about $12 million.

This is the fifth time the Alaska Supreme Court has heard an appeal in this case. The court issued earlier decisions in 1990, 1996, 2003 and 2008.

In these earlier decisions, the court decided that nonresidents can be charged a higher rate, determined the elements of the fisheries budget that were relevant to calculating the appropriate rate, and set the prejudgment interest rate that would apply to an overpayment.

In today's opinion, the court reconsidered and overturned that interest rate decision, which it made in the third appeal ("Carlson III").


Anonymous said...

What absolute tyrannists.

If I owe the State money, they collect 11%, but, if the State owes me money they will only pay 2-3%?

Pure and simple - criminal judges!

Hello U.S.Supreme court, have we got some spoiled children for you to spank!!!

Anonymous said...

Alaska has BILLIONS of dollars in surplus revenues each year now. You'd think the least they could do is pay their actual debts to others at their going rate of interest on delinquent charges. What ewould they do if they were in financial trouble, come and clear out our bank accounts?

Anonymous said...

This is a sad day for hard working fishermen. Most of who built the industry to begin with. What a shame.

Anonymous said...

bobby t will come to the rescue with robby z under tow

he can't let all those fees for seine permits paid from Shorewood not get returned to his Family

or did he and gina pay for her permit(s) out of Calhoun funds while she lived out of state

how on that football?

Anonymous said...

Basically the state fights a lawsuit for 26 years, and then decides that the interest on 26 years of delay is a "windfall", and they really didn't plan on that.
So their decision is to over rule the decision to pay that interest, further delay payment, but make the interest rate lower...
Nothing crooked about that.
Bobby T: STFU

Anonymous said...

"the State may “charge non-residents a differential which would merely compensate the State for any added enforcement burden they may impose or for any conservation expenditures from taxes which only residents pay?”

"enforcement burden" spelled backward's?

Arnie Fuglov=Federal Prison and State Enforcement Burden for Conservation 0?


Cory Rossi=Federal Prison and State Enforcement Burdens for Conservation 0?

The enforcement burden, at the Criminal Employment Branch of ADF&G, and the NMFS?

How much does it cost to house Americas favorite Fish Gang, from the UFA, that's AFU, spelled backwards.

Anonymous said...

the state of alaska, businesses that take alaska resourses, and politicians across the board have been selling the place short for years, so this is no surprise. If you aren't one of the players in alaska, you shouldn't expect to win a court case their, just ask the bristol bay fishermen. this place is so full of crooks, even after a bunch of em got caught, they are still going for it.

Anonymous said...

Just the way we like it. Do every one in AK a favor and stay south, and quit exploiting OUR resources.

Anonymous said...

Evidently the State of Ak. has learned all too well from Exxon how to screw the hard working fisherman in Ak.. Regardless of where they reside...

Anonymous said...

Does this make the total 12 mil plus 12.5 mil for a grand total of 24.5?

Anonymous said...

What is an adequate "legal remedy" when the Alaska Supreme Court, can't figure out the Alaska Supreme Court?
"This is the fifth time this case has come before us."

When you can't find a lawyer, west of the Mississippi...or in a State Supreme Court?

Violations of the dormant commerce clause are generally actionable un- der § 1983.
Article I, § 8, cl.3 confers power upon Congress to regulate interstate commerce; it also acts as a restraint on state regulations even when Congress has not regulated in the area.
In Dennis v. Higgins, the Supreme Court held that the commerce clause is not only a “power- allocating provision, giving Congress preemptive authority,” but is also a provision that confers rights, privileges, and immunities within the meaning of
42 U.S.C. § 1983.
Courts may award declaratory and in- junctive relief for dormant commerce clause violations.222
217. Connick v. Meyers, 461 U.S. 138, 147–48 (1982). 218. Rankin v. McPherson, 483 U.S. 378, 390–91 (1987). 219. Waters v. Churchill, 114 S. Ct. 1878, 1889 (1994) (citing Mount Healthy City
Sch. Dist. Bd. of Educ. v. Doyle, 429 U.S. 274 (1977)) (First Amendment free speech claim required determining whether the plaintiff was fired because of protected or unprotected speech).
220. 498 U.S. 439 (1991). 221. Id. at 447. 222. Id. at 451.

The Higgins Court held that there was an implied right under the commerce clause. To determine whether this right was implied, the Court applied the three-part test it has used in determining whether rights under federal statutes are actionable under § 1983: (1) whether the provision “creates obligations binding on the governmental unit”; (2) whether the plaintiff’s interest is “too vague and amorphous”; and (3) whether the provision was designed to benefit the plaintiff.223 The Court found the dormant commerce clause was intended to create individual rights, even though Congress may at any time eliminate the right by us- ing its plenary powers.
Dormant commerce clause claims, however, are generally not action- able in federal or state court when the claims involve challenges to the state tax scheme. In National Private Truck Council, Inc. v. Oklahoma Tax Commission,224 the Court articulated an exception to Higgins: § 1983 does not authorize federal or state courts to issue declaratory and injunctive relief in dormant commerce clause cases when state law provides an “adequate remedy at law.”225 In federal court, such relief is inappropriate because of the principles of comity and federalism, and the Tax Injunc- tion Act.226 In state court, declaratory and injunctive relief are inappro- priate under § 1983 because Congress did not intend for state courts to intrude into state taxing schemes when an adequate legal remedy exists.
223. Id. at 448–49 (quoting Golden State Transit Corp. v. Los Angeles, 493 U.S. 103, 106 (1989)).

Anonymous said...

Unbelievable! EXXON tactics from our very own government.

To the guy that says "...stay south, and quit exploiting our resources", do you really think that Alaska is a self sufficient planet? Greedy simpletons as yourself wouldn't have squat if it weren't for the "outside" world. Where would you get your supplies and equipment? Where would you sell your product?

I can appreciate American patriotism, but when you combine our lower 49 citizens in the same category as adversarial countrymen, you've lost sight of the bigger picture!

United we stand, divided we fall.

Anonymous said...

Deckboss, Ive read and re-read this and I just cant figure out if this is a final ruling with no appeal? Is this going to be the "final decision"?

Anonymous said...

These judges need to be sent to prison.

Anonymous said...

The money has been inflating at 6%. So anything less is unfair.

Anonymous said...


Giving mine back from the 1990-2003 period when i was a nonres back anyways.

This was a farce from day one.