Administrative Law Judges

covette_rooneyChief Judge Covette Rooney:  was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She has given over 40 years of public service to the federal government primarily in the area of the health and safety for the American worker. She joined the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission as a Federal Administrative Law Judge in 1996. In 2011 she became its first African American and woman named Chief Administrative Law Judge. As Chief Judge she not only presides over complex and significant contests to Occupational Safety and Health Administration citations, she is also responsible for case management, oversight, hiring and training of staff which include legal assistants, law clerks and judges in the Denver, Atlanta and National offices. She has successfully guided the implementation of the agency’s electronic filing system and virtual hearing protocol, the updating of procedural rules, as well as increasing the efficiency of the agency’s ADR program in her role as Chief Judge. Chief Judge Rooney was previously a U.S. Administrative Law Judge at the Social Security Administration in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, where she was the recipient of the Hattiesburg School District Outstanding African American Award (February 1995). Prior to taking the bench, Rooney had a distinguished 14-year career with the Philadelphia Regional Office of the Solicitor, U.S. Department of Labor (1980-1994), where she served as Regional Counsel for the Mine Safety and Health Administration Black Lung Program and was also a Senior Trial Attorney. She was the recipient of several U.S. Department of Labor Special Achievement Awards for her leadership and litigation skills during her tenure at the Office of the Solicitor.

        Chief Judge Rooney earned her undergraduate degree in political science at Colgate University (1974), where she and her twin sister, Cozette, were members of the first class of women. She received her Juris Doctor (1977) from Temple University School of Law. After law school, she clerked for the Honorable Paul A. Dandridge, First Judicial District of Pennsylvania, Court of Common Pleas, in Philadelphia. 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.

        Throughout her career, she has held memberships in many professional and community organizations. Chief Judge Rooney is currently a member of the American Bar Association – Legal Opportunity Scholarship Committee; Judicial Division, ADR Division, and Occupational Safety and Health Committee; The FORUM of the United States Administrative Law Judges (past vice-president); National Bar Association-Judicial Division; Labor Law Committee-Philadelphia Bar Association; Barristers Association of Philadelphia; National Bar Association: Women Lawyers Division-Philadelphia Chapter (Founding Member); ABA Young Lawyers Section-Law Explorers Post Sponsor, Post No 913; L.E.A.P. - Legal Connection, Temple Law School, and was a School District of Philadelphia "Law Day" Participant.

        She previously served as Board Chair of Girls Inc., Metropolitan Area Washington, DC (member 2013-2020, Governance Committee Chair 2015-2019), and was a member of the Board of Ethics Prince George’s County, MD., (member 1996-2002 and Chair 2010-2019). Her other philanthropic memberships include: Planned Parenthood of America-Greater Metropolitan Washington Chapter, Board of Directors (1999-2006); Woodmore South Neighborhood Advisory Council; National Organization of Athletic Development; Continental Societies, Inc.- Philadelphia Chapter, Board Member; Community Concern 13, Inc.-Board Member; Committee of Seventy, and Volunteer; Colgate University Alumni of Color PALS Mentor. In the Autumn 2020 Colgate Alumni Magazine, she was featured in an article entitled And Away They Soared.  She is also a member of the 2020 Class of the International Women’s Forum of Washington, DC.

          She was inducted into her alma mater’s Hall of Fame in 1995 (Overbrook High School-Philadelphia, PA) and was honored with the Hattiesburg School District Outstanding African American Award, February 1995 (Hattiesburg, MS). She was also recognized by the National Bar Association, Women Lawyers Division - Philadelphia Chapter in 2011 and as a founding member in 1991.

          Since 2012 Chief Judge Rooney has also been a featured speaker on Ethics and Professionalism at the American Bar Association’s Occupational Safety and Health Law Committee Midwinter meetings. As the Chief Judge she is also called upon to speak before both governmental and employer represented groups on the mission of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

 

Judge Carol A. Baumerich:  was appointed an Administrative Law Judge with the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission (OSHRC), in Washington, D.C., in August 2011. Immediately before joining OSHRC, Judge Baumerich served as an Administrative Law Judge with the Social Security Administration, Office of Disability Hearings and Review, in Cleveland, Ohio, and Baltimore, Maryland.

Judge Baumerich has many years of experience as a mediator, trial attorney, and litigation manager. Since 1997, Judge Baumerich’s mediation experience includes mediating disputes for several state and federal agencies and for the Circuit Court for Baltimore County, Maryland. 

Judge Baumerich has 29 years of litigation experience in complex, adversarial proceedings.  She worked 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 NLRB, U.S. District Courts, and U.S. Bankruptcy Courts. 

A native of New Jersey, Judge Baumerich graduated from Rutgers Law School — Newark.  While in law school, she served as a staff member and editor on the Rutgers Law Review.  Judge Baumerich received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Upsala College. 

 

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 Heather Daly: was appointed as an Administrative Law Judge with the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission in February 2024.  She brings over twenty years of experience in occupational safety and health law to the role.  Prior to her judicial appointment, Judge Daly was an Attorney-Advisor in the Office of the Chief Administrative Law Judge for many years.  In that role, she assisted ALJs with complex trials, decision writing, and settlement proceedings (ADR).  She began working at the Review Commission in 2010, in the Office of the General Counsel, where her responsibilities focused on advising Commissioners on disputes between the U.S. Department of Labor and employers.

She received her B.A., with high honors, from Union College in Schenectady, New York, and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.  She earned her Juris Doctorate, with honors, from Cornell Law School in Ithaca, New York.  After law school, she clerked for the Hon. Franklin S. Van Antwerpen in the United States District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania.  She then joined Latham & Watkins, LLP, where she focused on environmental, health, and safety law.  Later, she joined Davis, Polk & Wardwell LLP as a Senior Associate, and assisted clients with a range of regulatory matters. 

Judge Daly became a certified mediator in 2022.  She is admitted to the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York and a member of the New York and New Jersey bars.  She is an active American Bar Association (ABA) member and previously served as a fellow for the ABA’s Workplace & Occupational Safety & Health Law Committee.

 

Atlanta Office

Judge Heather Joys:  serves as First Judge of the Atlanta Regional OSHRC office. Judge Joys is a native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She received her Juris Doctorate and Master of Science in Industrial Relations from the University of Wisconsin. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from St. Olaf College. Prior to being appointed to the Review Commission, Judge Joys served as an administrative law judge with the National Labor Relations Board and the U.S. Social Security Administration in Atlanta, Georgia.

Prior to her judicial appointment, Judge Joys served over 17 years as a litigation attorney with the U. S. Department of Labor, Office of the Solicitor. She began her career with the DOL in the Civil Rights Division of the Office of the Solicitor in Washington, D.C., where she was responsible for litigation of cases arising under E.O. 11246 and Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act. She was a trial attorney in the Cleveland Office where she served as lead counsel for numerous cases involving the enforcement of the OSH Act. In this capacity, she participated in the negotiation of several nationwide settlements. She also handled litigation for client agencies before the Federal District Courts and other administrative bodies. In her last years with DOL before her judicial appointment, she served as counsel for the Mine Safety and Health Administration, and various whistleblower program areas within the Atlanta Regional Solicitor's office.

 

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.

 

j.gattoJudge John B. Gatto:   joined the United States Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission as a judge in Atlanta, Georgia in August 2013. Immediately before his judicial appointment with the Commission, he served as an Administrative Law Judge, beginning in January 2012, with the Social Security Administration in Tampa, Florida.

Prior to his federal appoint, Judge Gatto served as an Administrative Law Judge, beginning in April 1995, with the Georgia Office of State Administrative Hearing in Atlanta, Georgia. As a Georgia Administrative Law Judge, he presided over 300 different types of contested cases involving most of Georgia’s state agencies, departments, commissions, and regulatory boards. In that capacity, he presided over sanction and licensing cases, candidate qualification challenges, election law and ethics law violations, as well as complex litigation involving environmental permit issuance and enforcement actions, banking and finance and securities violations, and special education litigation under the federal Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act.

Judge Gatto has been a frequent speaker and panelist at continuing legal and judicial education seminars in Georgia and nationally. He is a current member of the Judicial Section of State Bar of Georgia, and has been a past chair of the Administrative Law Section of State Bar of Georgia and past vice president of the Georgia Association of Administrative Judiciary.

 

Denver Office

Judge Joshua R. Patrick: serves as First Judge of the Denver Regional OSHRC office and was appointed as an Administrative Law Judge with the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission in August 2022. Prior to his judicial appointment, Judge Patrick was an Attorney Advisor for the Review Commission’s Denver Regional Office, where he started in 2012. 

In his previous role, Judge Patrick advised judges across the Commission on issues presented in their cases and assisted them in drafting and issuing trial decisions. He also supervised the legal support staff during his tenure. Judge Patrick began his federal career with the Department of Labor’s Office of the Solicitor, where he litigated Federal Mine Safety and Health Act cases as part of the MSHA backlog project. Prior to joining the federal government, Judge Patrick clerked for the Honorable James Klein in Colorado’s 20th Judicial District.

Judge Patrick earned his Juris Doctorate degree, with highest honors, from Drake University Law School, where he served as the Editor-in-Chief of the Drake University Law Review. He is a member of the American Bar Association.

 

AugustineJudge Patrick B. Augustine: currently serves as a Judge in the Denver Regional OSHRC office.  He previously served as First Judge of the Denver Regional office for twelve years.  Judge Augustine received his initial commission when he was appointed a United States Administrative Law Judge on September 27, 1997.  From his initial appointment until he joined the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission on February 9, 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. Judge Augustine also earned a Bachelor of Arts degree, magna cum laude, in Political Science from Washburn University. Judge Augustine holds The Certificate in Judicial Development – Administrative Law Adjudication Skills and The Certificate in Judicial Development – Dispute Resolution Skills awarded by The National Judicial College. 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.      

 

brian_duncanJudge Brian A. Duncan:   was appointed a U.S. Administrative Law Judge with the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission in 2012. Prior to his judicial appointment at the Commission, he served as a Judge with the Social Security Administration 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. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, and the U.S. Supreme Court. Judge Duncan is also a licensed private airplane pilot.

 

Judge Christopher D. Helms: was appointed as an Administrative Law Judge with the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission in June 2019.  Prior to this appointment, Judge Helms served as an Administrative Law Judge with the U.S. Department of the Interior and with the Social Security Administration.

Prior to his judicial appointment, Judge Helms served as OSHA Counsel in the U.S. Department of Labor’s Atlanta Office of the Solicitor, where he led federal safety and health enforcement and litigation throughout the Southeastern United States.  Prior to this, he served as a trial attorney with the U.S. Department of Labor providing legal counsel in labor and employment matters.  In addition, Judge Helms’ experience includes serving as an assistant attorney general with the New Hampshire Department of Justice and the Georgia Attorney General’s Office.  

Judge Helms received his Juris Doctor from Vermont Law School and his undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.