Chief Judge Covette Rooney: was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She joined the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission in 1996, and on March 14, 2011, she was named Chief Administrative Law Judge. Judge Rooney was previously a U.S. Administrative Law Judge at the Social Security Administration in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Her prior work experience includes employment with the Philadelphia Regional Office of the Solicitor, Region III, U.S. Department of Labor, from 1980 until 1994. In that capacity, she served as Regional Counsel for the Mine Safety and Health Administration and the Black Lung Program. She was also a Senior Trial Attorney during her tenure with the Office of the Solicitor.
Judge Rooney earned her undergraduate degree at Colgate University, and she received her Juris Doctor at Temple University School of Law. After law school, she was a law clerk for the Honorable Paul A. Dandridge, First Judicial District of Pennsylvania, Court of Common Pleas, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She is admitted to the Pennsylvania Bar, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.
Judge Dennis Phillips: joined the United States Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission as a judge in Washington, D.C. on September 1, 2007. He previously served as a Supervisory Administrative Law Judge at the Office of Medicare Hearings and Appeals in Miami, Florida. Judge Phillips was a trial attorney at the Fraud Section, Commercial Litigation Branch, Civil Division, United States Department of Justice at Washington, D.C. where he practiced before federal district, bankruptcy and appellate courts, and the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, throughout the nation for more than 15 years. He also served as a trial attorney at the U.S. Army’s Office of Chief Trial Attorney where he practiced before the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals for 5 years. He retired as a Lieutenant Colonel from the United States Army’s Judge Advocate General’s Corps after completing 21 years of active service. He was awarded the Legion of Merit upon retirement.
Judge Phillips received his Master of Laws in Government Procurement Law from the George Washington University National Law Center, his J.D. (magna cum laude and Order of the Coif) from Syracuse University’s College of Law, and his Bachelor of Science from the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. He also completed the Program Manager’s Course, a Joint Service graduate-level program in major system acquisition management, at the Defense Systems Management College and the LL.M.-Equivalent Graduate Law Course (ABA approved), at the Judge Advocate General's School, Charlottesville, Virginia (Commandant's List).
Judge Phillips is admitted to practice in the courts of New York and Pennsylvania, U.S. Supreme Court, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, U.S. Court of Federal Claims, and other federal courts. He is a member of the American Bar Association (Public Contract Law Section: co-chairman Procurement Fraud Committee from 2001 through 2007) and American Association for Justice.
Judge Carol A. Baumerich: was appointed as an Administrative Law Judge with the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission (OSHRC), in Washington, D.C., in August 2011. Judge Baumerich has many years of experience as a mediator, adversarial trial specialist, and litigation manager. Since 1997, Judge Baumerich has served as a mediator. Her experience includes mediating disputes for several state and federal agencies and for the Circuit Court for Baltimore County, Maryland. Judge Baumerich has received extensive mediation training through the Harvard Law School Program of Instruction for Lawyers, the Center for Dispute Settlement, and The Maryland Institute for Continuing Professional Education of Lawyers, Inc. (MICPEL), among other programs. On many occasions, Judge Baumerich served as a teaching facilitator / critiquer for the MICPEL Mediation Workshops.
Prior to her judicial appointment, Judge Baumerich accrued 29 years of litigation experience in complex, adversarial proceedings, working first as a trial specialist and later as a Deputy Regional Attorney, for the National Labor Relations Board, Region 5, in Baltimore, Maryland. Judge Baumerich’s litigation experience includes first chair responsibility in many adversarial proceedings before the National Labor Relations Board, U.S. District Courts, and U.S. Bankruptcy Courts. While Deputy Regional Attorney, Judge Baumerich’s responsibilities included trial training, from pre-trial witness preparation to post-trial and appellate briefing, and second chairing newer attorneys during initial trial assignments.
Immediately before her judicial appointment with OSHRC, Judge Baumerich served as an Administrative Law Judge, beginning in June 2008, with the Social Security Administration, Office of Disability Hearings and Review, in Cleveland, Ohio, and Baltimore, Maryland.
Judge Baumerich is a native of New Jersey. She graduated from Rutgers Law School — Newark. While in law school, she served as a staff member and editor on the Rutgers Law Review. She graduated, summa cum laude, from Upsala College, majoring in history. She is a member of the New Jersey, Maryland, and District of Columbia bars. She resides in Baltimore, Maryland, with her husband of 29 years. They are the proud parents of two adult daughters.
Judge Keith E. Bell: is a native of Staten Island, New York who received his Bachelor of Arts degree with honors in 1988 from North Carolina Central University in Durham, NC. Thereafter, he earned his Juris Doctorate degree from North Carolina Central University’s School of Law in 1991. He was appointed as an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) with the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission (OSHRC), in Washington D.C., in January 2012. Prior to joining OSHRC, Judge Bell did a brief stint in the Social Security Administration’s Office of Disability Adjudication and Review in Columbia, Missouri where he decided appeals filed by applicants for disability benefits.
Prior to his appointment as an ALJ, Judge Bell enjoyed a distinguished career in the Department of Labor’s Office of the Solicitor, Mine Safety and Health (MSH) Division where he most recently served as co-counsel for Trial Litigation. He also served as the national coordinator for the Mine Safety and Health Administration’s Alternative Case Resolution program that trained non-attorney mine inspectors to represent the Secretary of Labor in cases before the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission. During his sixteen year tenure with the MSH Division, Judge Bell litigated complex cases involving mine fatalities and violations of various health and safety standards. He also served on the Solicitor’s committee to address the growing backlog of mine safety cases. In 1998, Judge Bell was appointed to be a Special Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia in Alexandria where he successfully litigated cases at the trial level and on appeal. Judge Bell began his legal career as an Assistant District Attorney in the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office.
Judge William Coleman: joined the United States Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission in Washington, D.C. in May 2012. He was originally appointed a U. S. Administrative Law Judge in July 2011 by the Social Security Administration, with assignment in Madison, Wisconsin. Judge Coleman had previously served eleven years as a state administrative law judge for the Wisconsin Division of Hearings and Appeals. In the nineteen years before his appointment as a state administrative law judge, Judge Coleman held a variety of public and private sector positions where he concentrated on trial, appellate, and administrative litigation. Judge Coleman is retired from the U.S. Army Reserve with 30 years of commissioned service.
Judge Coleman received his J.D. from the University of South Carolina and his undergraduate degree from Davidson College. He is a member of the South Carolina and Wisconsin bars.
Judge Ken Welsch: has been an Administrative Law Judge with the OSHRC, Atlanta Office, since January, 1995. He earned a BA Degree from the University of Maryland and his JD Degree from Mercer University. Judge Welsch was born in Wellington, Kansas and has over 38 years of legal experience.
Judge Sharon Calhoun: is a native of Hot Springs, Arkansas. She was raised in Hot Springs, Arkansas and Denver, Colorado. Judge Calhoun received her Juris Doctorate in 1987 from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. She also received a Master of Arts Degree in Interpersonal and Organizational Communication from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock in 1981. Judge Calhoun graduated from Henderson State University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas in 1980, where she received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Public Administration. Judge Calhoun has nineteen years of trial litigation experience. She also has two years of appellate litigation experience with the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Office of General Counsel. Immediately prior to joining the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission in April 2010, Judge Calhoun served as an Administrative Law Judge with the Social Security Administration, Office of Disability Adjudication and Review.
Judge Stephen Simko: Judge Simko has served as an Administrative Law Judge in OSHRC’s Atlanta office since 1997. He has over thirty-nine years of legal experience, including seventeen years as a judge and thirteen years as a settlement judge/mediator. A native of Springfield, Illinois, Judge Simko received his undergraduate degree from Florida State University and his Juris Doctorate from Emory University School of Law. He is a member of the State Bar of Georgia’s Dispute Resolution Section and is a Registered Neutral with the state of Georgia.
Judge Patrick Augustine: was appointed a United States Administrative Law Judge on September 27, 1997. From his initial appointment as a United States Administrative Law Judge until he joined the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission in February 2009, Judge Augustine was a Judge with the Social Security Administration, Office of Disability Adjudication and Review. During his tenure with the Social Security Administration, Judge Augustine served as the Regional Chief Judge (Acting) of the Boston Region, Assistant Regional Chief Judge of the Denver Region and the Hearing Office Chief Judge of the Denver Hearing Office. From 1985 until 1997, Judge Augustine practiced law with Denver, Colorado firms which specialized in representing financial institutions before federal and state courts and administrative tribunals. He has also served as Presiding Municipal Court Judge for the town of Elizabeth, Colorado. Judge Augustine is a magna cum laude graduate of Washburn University School of Law where he ranked first in his class. He also holds a Bachelors of Arts degree magna cum laude in Political Science from Washburn University. Judge Augustine is admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, U.S. District Court of Colorado, Colorado Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.
Judge John H. Schumacher: has served as an Administrative Law Judge with the United States Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission in Denver, Colorado, since July 2011. He joined the Commission in Washington, D.C. on May 6, 2005 as an Administrative Law Judge. He previously served as an Administrative Law Judge with the Social Security Administration in Detroit, Michigan, and as a Senior Trial Attorney with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms in Washington, DC, where he specialized in civil litigation. Prior to becoming a judge, he served thirteen years on active duty as a Judge Advocate with the United States Air Force. He joined the U.S. Air Force Reserves after separating from active duty and retired from the reserves as a Lieutenant Colonel in 2004. The judge is the author of Mumbo Jumbo, a light-hearted lampoon of the legal profession. He also co-authored a novel titled Seventh Psalm.
Judge Schumacher received his J.D. from the University of Nebraska, his MBA from the University of Phoenix and his undergraduate degree from Columbia College in Denver, Colorado. Judge Schumacher is admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of the United States, the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces and the Colorado Supreme Court.
In August 2012, Judge Schumacher received a Certificate in Judicial Development (Dispute Resolution Skills) from the National Judicial College, Reno, Nevada. Judge Schumacher is now pursuing a Master's Degree in Judicial Studies through the University of Nevada-Reno.
Judge Brian A. Duncan: was appointed a Federal Administrative Law Judge with the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission in 2012. Prior to his appointment at the Commission, Judge Duncan served as a Federal Administrative Law Judge with the Social Security Administration, Office of Disability Adjudication and Review, in Wichita, Kansas. During his legal career before becoming a judge, he served as a Supervisory Attorney Advisor with OSHRC in Denver, Colorado; a Senior Trial Attorney with the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of the Solicitor, in Dallas, Texas; and was in private practice in Norman, Oklahoma. Judge Duncan obtained his Juris Doctorate, with distinction, from the University of Oklahoma, and is admitted to the Oklahoma Bar, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, and the U.S. Supreme Court. Judge Duncan is also a licensed private airplane pilot.
Judge Horace A. "Topper" Thompson III: Prior to accepting appointment as an OSHRC Judge, Judge Thompson has been a lifelong resident of New Orleans, Louisiana and Pass Christian, Mississippi. Thompson received his JD from Tulane University in 1968, and completed his undergraduate work in the field of chemical engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. From 1979 to 1984, he served as Management Co-Chair of the Occupational Safety and Health Law Committee of the American Bar Association Section on Labor and Employment Law. He co-edited the initial ABA/BNA treatise, Occupational Safety and Health Law (BNA, 1988) and contributed annually to the ABA/BNA treatise, International Labor and Employment Laws (BNA, 2009).
During his entire 38-year career as an attorney, he has focused his practice in labor and employment issues, specifically on occupational safety and health law. From 1968 to 1980, Thompson was a member of the labor practice of the New Orleans-based law firm of Jones, Walker, Waechter, Poitevent, Carrére & Denégre. Then he co-founded the New Orleans-based labor relations and employment law firm of McCalla, Thompson, Pyburn & Ridley and from 1980 through 2002 participated as a member of its management committee. From 2002 through 2006, Thompson served as co-chair of the labor and employment practice group of Watkins, Ludlam, Winter & Stennis and held a resident position in the firm's Gulfport, MS and New Orleans, LA offices.
From 2006 through 2011 Thompson served as a member of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission, serving from June 2007 through February 2009 as the Review Commission's Chairman. After his term as a member of the Review Commission, Judge Thompson served as an administrative law judge with the Social Security Administration's Office of Disability Adjudication and Review. From July 2011 to April 2012 he was stationed in the Hattiesburg ODAR Hearing Office, and from April 2012 until March 2013 he was stationed in the New Orleans ODAR Hearing Office.