Judge Covette Rooney Named Chief Administrative Law Judge

Judge Covette Rooney Named Chief Administrative Law Judge

Judge Covette Rooney has been named Chief Administrative Law Judge at the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. Rooney, who has served as an ALJ at the Review Commission since 1996, first became an ALJ at the Social Security Administration in 1994.

During her tenure at the Review Commission, Judge Rooney has distinguished herself through the adjudication and settlement of complex cases. Most recently, as settlement judge, she presided over a multi-million dollar settlement agreement in the Imperial Sugar Co. case involving the Occupational Safety and Health Administration citations stemming from an explosion at its Port Wentworth, Georgia facility.

As Chief Judge, Rooney will be responsible for the management and general administrative supervision of the administrative law judges in the Review Commission’s National office as well as the two regional offices. With an expected increase in the number of contested citations before the Commission, she will also focus on information technology and how it can help the Office of Chief Administrative Law Judge maximize efficiency in both case processing and management.

Before becoming an ALJ, Judge Rooney was the regional counsel for the Mine Safety and Health Administration and Black Lung Benefits Program at the U.S. Department of Labor.

Rooney received her undergraduate degree from Colgate University where in 1970, she was among the small group of women in its first coed first-year class. She went on to receive her Juris Doctor at Temple University School of Law. She is admitted to the Pennsylvania Bar, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, and U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

She fills the position previously held by Judge Irving Sommer, who retired at the end of 2010. She is the first woman and only African American to hold this title at the Review Commission.