Judges Dennis L. Phillips and James R. Rucker Join OSHRC

Judges Dennis L. Phillips and James R. Rucker Join OSHRC

The Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission welcomed two new Administrative Law Judges in September. Judge James R. Rucker has joined the Commission’s Denver, CO office and Judge Dennis L. Phillips joined the Washington, DC office. The Review Commission is an independent Federal agency that adjudicates disputes between employers and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) that arise from OSHA inspections of work places.

A native of Colorado, Judge Rucker earned a Bachelors Degree from Colorado State University. He earned his J.D. from the University of San Diego, where he served as Managing Editor of The San Diego Law Review. Following private practice in Greeley, Colorado, he was appointed to the County Court bench for Weld County from 1970 to 1974. He served Weld County until he was appointment as a federal Administration Law Judge (ALJ) for the Social Security Administration 1974. During his tenure with the Social Security Administration, Judge Rucker served three years as National Chief ALJ from 1987 through 1991.

Judge Rucker returned to the position of Regional Chief ALJ for the Denver Region in 1991, where he oversaw Hearing Offices in four states and satellite offices in South Dakota. Judge Rucker held that position until joining OSHRC in September of this year. Judge Rucker continues to live in Denver, CO with his wife of thirty-nine years. They have two adult daughters and two grandchildren who also reside in the Denver area.

Judge Phillips served as a Supervisory ALJ at the Office of Medicare Hearings and Appeals in Miami, Florida. As a trial attorney at the Civil Division of the United States Department of Justice in Washington, DC, he practiced before Federal District Courts throughout the nation for more than fifteen years. Judge Phillips also practiced as a trial attorney before the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals for 5 years in the U.S. Army’s Office of Chief Trial Attorney. He retired as a Lieutenant Colonel from the United States Army’s Judge Advocate General’s Corps after completing twenty-one years of active service.

Judge Phillips received his Master of Laws in Government Procurement Law from the George Washington University National Law Center. He earned his J.D. (magna cum laude) from Syracuse University’s College of Law, and his Bachelor of Science from the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. Judge Phillips is admitted to the New York and Pennsylvania bars. He and his wife of more than thirty-three years, Dr. Linda Phillips, presently a director at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and parents of three, reside in Virginia.

Chairman Horace A. Thompson, III stated that “The wealth of federal litigation and judicial experience of both men is a superb addition to the Review Commission. We are honored to have them here at the Commission.”