How to Draft a Release of Liability in Alaska

Life is risky. People get hurt. And unfortunately people sue. Yes, we live in a litigious society. One common way to mitigate these risks is to have your customers sign a release of liability. Three cases involving releases have gone to the Alaska Supreme Court and all three releases failed to protect the business owner. But last Friday the Alaska Supreme Court finally upheld a release and provided business owners some guidance on how to draft a release. Here’s what they’re looking for:

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Employee vs. Independent Contractor

If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and looks like a duck, then it’s a duck even if you call it a cow. The same is true with independent contractors. If it walks like an employee, quacks like an employee, and looks like an employee, then it’s an employee even if you call it an independent contractor. So make sure your independent contractors are really independent contractors or structure the relationship in a way that fits an independent contractor.

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Performance Reviews

My teenage son will pour himself a bowl of cereal and bring it up to his room to eat while he does his homework. He’ll finish his cereal and then forget to bring the bowl back down to the kitchen. His dirty dish will sit in his room until we ask him to put it in the dishwasher (I’m sure none of your teenagers do things like this). So what do we do? Do we punish him? Do we ask him to put his dish away? Do we take care of the dish for him? Do we take the time to teach him the value of courtesy? Do we ignore it? Or do we just accept him for what he is?

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