The Alaska Supreme Court, reversing a trial court’s decision, said a judge, not a jury, must determine whether a construction worker killed in a work-related accident was an employee or independent contractor based on previous case law.

Leona Seal brought workers’ compensation claim against the Alaska Workers’ Compensation Benefits Guaranty Fund and later filed a wrongful death suit in Superior Court of the State of Alaska, Third Judicial District, for her son Nicholson Tinker’s work-related death after a retaining wall collapsed on him at a construction site.