Governor McMaster appointed Cynthia C. Dooley, Esq to the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission. Subsequently, she was confirmed by the SC Senate and her term began on 7/1/22. She is the first new SC workers’ compensation commissioner in 10 years.
Prior to her service at the SCWCC, Cynthia graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor of science degree from the University of South Carolina in 1978. She worked for Aetna Casualty & Surety as a senior multi-line claims representative for 13 years.
She then graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 1997 and joined the insurance defense firm of Turner Padget where she worked for 25 years specializing in Workers’ Compensation Defense. While at Turner Padget, she served as the team leader of the Workers’ Compensation Group and on the firm’s Executive Committee. She also became a certified mediator in 2007 and was inducted into the National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals in 2022. Cindy also served as the Chair of the WC Section of the Bar 2021 – 2022.
Abril L. Baloney
A native of New Orleans, Louisiana and admitted to the Louisiana Bar in 2004, Judge Baloney is a graduate of Loyola University New Orleans School of Law, where she obtained her Juris Doctorate along with a Certificate in International Law. Judge Baloney joins the Louisiana Office of Worker’s Compensation following an 18-year career practicing across South Louisiana in the areas of mass tort, employment law, medical malpractice, and real estate litigation. She has represented individuals and businesses, as well as numerous federal, state and local agencies. Judge Baloney has served as an Assistant Bar Examiner, Commissioner of the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East, and Member of the Board of Directors of Ascension DePaul Community Health Centers.
Judge Denise Johnson Lee is a native of Hammond, Louisiana where she graduated from Hammond High School. She is also a graduate of Southern University and A & M College and Southern University Law Center. In 2003, she began her legal career in private practice and subsequently went on to work for the Louisiana Workforce Commission, Office of Workers’ Compensation Administration (OWCA) as a Staff Attorney and Mediator in District 7, Harvey, Louisiana. In 2006, she left OWCA for federal service with Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) working as an Equal Rights Officer. She returned to state service in 2011, working for District 5 as a Staff Attorney and Mediator in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. After serving as mediator for over 14 years, Judge Lee was appointed District Judge for District 5.
Judge Lee is also a veteran who proudly served her country as a Paralegal Specialist with the 31st Judge Advocate General Corp in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She is member of the Louisiana State Bar Association, Baton Rouge Bar Association, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and Junior League of Baton Rouge. Judge Lee has also worked as a contract EEO investigator and contract Final Agency Decision writer for federal agencies.
Thomas E. Townsley was born and reared in Bloomington, Indiana. He graduated from Indiana University with a BA with a double major in History and Political Science in 1990, cum laude. He was chosen to be a member of the honorary societies Phi Betta Kappa and Beta Gamma Sigma (Business). He received his Juris Doctorate degree for Indiana University School of Law in 1993. Thomas E. Townsley began practicing law in 1994, handling personal injury, workers’ compensation, and social security disability claims. He is a member of the Louisiana State Bar Association, the Southwest Louisiana Bar Association, and was 2015 Litigator Award winner. He is admitted to the bar in all of the state and federal courts in Louisiana.
Heather Peth Fairchild has been a mediator with the Office of Workers’ Compensation District 9 since March 2019. In December 2022, she was selected as Division Judge for the Southern District in Harahan. She will hear cases in both Division 6 and 7 of the Office of Workers’ Compensation. Through a joint program with the Louisiana Workforce Commission and Baton Rouge Community College, she is a certified Workers’ Compensation Professional. She is a certified family law and workers’ compensation mediator. She also served one year appointment as an Administrative Law Judge for the Unemployment Hearings Division.
She is a 1999 cum laude graduate of the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point and a 2008 graduate of Loyola College of Law. While at Loyola, she was a Lexis-Nexis student representative, trial advocacy participant, and practiced in the Immigration Law Clinic. Prior to law school, she was the national marketing manager for Ranger Boats where she traveled across the country promoting recreational sport fishing and the Ranger brand.
Prior to joining the Office of Workers’ Compensation Administration, she practiced in the areas of family law and criminal law. She also clerked for the Honorable Judge F. Hugh Larose of the Seventeenth Judicial District.
She is licensed to practice law in the State of Louisiana.
She is member of the Terrebonne Parish Bar Association and Louisiana State Bar Association.
Judge Meng Li Che was appointed to the Court of Appeals, Division II on November 23, 2022. Prior to that Che has worked at the Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals (BIIA) since 2010 and served as an Assistant Chief Industrial Appeals Judge, where she handled workers’ compensation appeals and alleged workplace safety violations.
Before joining Division II, Che maintained a busy public defense practice with the Pierce County Office of Public Defense and the Pierce County Department of Assigned Counsel, representing indigent criminal defendants.
Che is active in the community. From 2011 to 2015, she served on the Board of Trustees and as treasurer for the Broadway Center for the Performing Arts (now Tacoma Arts Live). She is also a senior fellow with the American Leadership Forum, after being a member of Fellow Class XV. Che is a member of the Hon. Robert J. Bryan American Inn of Court.
Che earned her bachelor’s degree at the University of San Diego. She obtained her law degree at Seattle University School of Law.
Sharon H. Reeves has been named a Fellow in the College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers, Class of 2023. Fellows are recognized as distinguished members of the workers’ compensation legal community and include plaintiff’s attorneys, defense attorneys, professors, and judges nationwide. Sharon will be inducted in May in New York City, NY.
On February 8, 2023 Governor Daniel McKee named Judicial Candidates who had cleared the Judicial Nomination Commission to fill several open seats and new positions on various Courts within the State of Rhode Island. Included in the R.I. Governor selections was Attorney Moira Reynolds named to fill the opening created by the retirement of Associate Judge George Salem. Attorney Reynolds is a graduate of Providence College and Suffolk University Law School in Boston, MA. She has spent the past 23 years working as a staff attorney for Beacon Mutual Insurance defending insureds against workers’ compensation claims. Attorney Reynolds is married to insurance liability defense attorney. Attorney Reynolds may well be Judge Reynolds after she is confirmed to the life tenured position by the Rhode Island Senate as the Lex goes to press.
On April 28th and 29th the R.I. Workers’ Compensation Court will Co-Host with the International Workers’ Compensation Foundation the R.I. Workers’ Compensation Educational Conference 2023. The Conference coincides with the annual commemoration of International Workers’ Memorial Day on April 28th.
The Department of Workers’ Claims in Kentucky is pleased to announce that the Kentucky State Senate recently confirmed the following appointments: Scott C. Wilhoit as commissioner; Franklin A. Stivers as member of the Workers’ Compensation Board; and Kenneth C. Smith III as administrative law judge. Commissioner Wilhoit is a longtime practitioner from Louisville who has been serving in the role for a year. Board Member Stivers from London was reappointed for a fourth term. ALJ Smith from Ashland was appointed as a new ALJ. Board members and ALJ are appointed by the governor for four-year terms.
The Texas Department of Insurance, Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) is proud to announce the hiring of two new administrative law judges (ALJs).
Nick Morgan is the new ALJ for the DWC Waco Field Office. He graduated with honors from New Mexico State University with a bachelor’s degree in Government-Law & Society. During his time at Baylor Law School, he was on the Dean’s List and joined the Phi Delta Phi legal honor society before graduating in 1999. He worked for a real estate, business, and estate planning firm in Waco before joining Helton Law Firm in 2003. While with Helton Law Firm, he was able to focus on helping injured employees navigate the workers’ compensation system, as well as represent injured Texans in personal injury matters. After 13 years on the claimant’s side of the table, he joined Burns Anderson Jury & Brenner and focused on how to effectively represent insurance carriers in Texas, before briefly returning to a claimant-based practice prior to being hired by DWC in October of 2022. He has been married for 26 years with one daughter and two dogs.
Cole Fulks is the new ALJ for the DWC Tyler Field Office. He will also hear cases in the DWC Lufkin Field Office. He holds a bachelor’s degree with honors in History from Texas Tech University and a law degree from Capital University (Columbus, Ohio). While initially licensed in Ohio, he started practicing law in Texas in 1992. During his career, he has worked as a narcotics task prosecutor and served briefly as a district attorney pro tem in the 83rd district. He has also served as a county attorney for Presidio County and as an attorney for the City of Fort Worth. He practiced consumer bankruptcy law until 2019, when he began with Bailey & Galyen as an attorney for injured employees in workers’ compensation cases. His hobbies outside of work include reading a lot of fiction. He has a son and a daughter in nursing school.