When the California occupational safety and health program was established in 1974, Robert D. Peterson became its first Chief Counsel and assisted in the creation and implementation of Appeals Board procedures. He remained with the Appeals Board until September, 1978, and subsequently established the Robert D. Peterson Law Corporation.
The firm specializes in the defense of employers throughout the country in both OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) and MSHA (Mine Safety and Health Administration) proceedings.
The firm also represents the interests of employers in California in workers’ compensation proceedings alleging “serious and willful” misconduct of employers and in criminal litigation based upon alleged violations of California safety standards.
Mr. Peterson practices in California courts, federal courts (including the U. S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit, Ninth Circuit, and Washington D.C. circuit), and throughout the country in both state and federal OSHA proceedings.
Mr. Peterson has co-authored a number of books and articles on OSHA, including The Cal/OSHA Source, The Cal/OSHA Handbook, and The Complete Guide to OSHA Compliance.
Mr. Peterson co-sponsors and participates in annual seminars for employers throughout California regarding the Cal/OSHA program.
David W. Donnell, Esq., employed by the Robert D. Peterson Law Corporation since 1998, advises employers regarding occupational safety and health issues, including Cal/OSHA, MSHA, and Workers’ Compensation “serious and willful” claims.
Mr. Donnell provides counsel to employers during inspections by Cal/OSHA, represents employers in administrative hearings before the Occupational Safety and Health Appeals Board, has made numerous presentations to California employers and associations regarding occupational safety and health issues, is a member of the Cal/OSHA Advisory Committee, and was co-author of The Cal/OSHA Source 2014.
Admitted to the California State Bar in November, 1997, Mr. Donnell received his J.D. degree in 1996 from the Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago-Kent College of Law, and his undergraduate degree from the University of California, Davis, in 1989.
Perry P. Poff is an Associate Attorney with the Robert D. Peterson Law Corporation. Mr. Poff’s practice includes advising and defending employers regarding occupational safety and health issues and representation before the California Occupational Safety and Health Appeals Board in proceedings alleging safety standard violations. He also advises and defends employers regarding serious and willful misconduct claims and 132a discrimination claims before the California Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board.
Prior to his employment with the Robert D. Peterson Law Corporation, Mr. Poff was employed by the Southern California law firm of Solimon | Rodgers P.C. While there, his practice included representing employees in claims for workers’ compensation benefits, Labor Code Section 132a claims, serious and willful misconduct claims, and representing employees in various civil employment law areas.
Mr. Poff also holds an active contractor’s license from the Contractors State License Board. As such, he understands the real-world challenges that employers face in this area of the law. His extensive experience in the construction industry provides an additional benefit to the clients he represents in the practice of law.
Mr. Poff received his J.D. degree, with honors, from Western State College of Law and his Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry from California State University Los Angeles. Mr. Poff is admitted to practice in all California state courts, the United States District Courts for the Northern and Central Districts, and before the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
Employed by the Robert D. Peterson Law Corporation since 2011, Mr. Melgoza's practice includes occupational safety and health issues and representation before the California Occupational Safety and Health Appeals Board in proceedings alleging safety violations.
Prior to his work with the Robert D. Peterson Law Corporation, Mr. Melgoza was the presiding administrative law judge of the California Occupational Safety and Health Appeals Board. He also served as an administrative law judge of the Appeals Board before becoming the presiding administrative law judge. He has presided over thousands of appeal proceedings, trained and supervised administrative law judges, and led workshops on how to effectively present cases before the Appeals Board. Mr. Melgoza has additional experience as an administrative law judge for the California Public Employment Relations Board and as an attorney for the Agricultural Labor Relations Board and the California Rural Legal Assistance. He served a 5-year term as a member of the Los Angeles City Employee Relations Board, a quasi-adjudicative body administering employment laws that cover Los Angeles city employees.
Mr. Melgoza received his law degree from UCLA in 1979 and was admitted to the California State Bar in 1979. He received his undergraduate degree from Loyola-Marymount University in 1976. He is admitted to practice in all California courts and one Federal Circuit court. He is bilingual (Spanish-English).
Ms. Scates has represented hundreds of employers in defending claims of employer misconduct in “Serious and Willful Misconduct” petitions, including defending employers regarding alleged violations of Cal/OSHA safety standards and Labor Code § 132a discrimination claims before the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board.
Prior to her work with the Robert D. Peterson Law Corporation, Ms. Scates was employed as a staff attorney with the United States Department of Interior, Office of Hearings and Appeals, in Washington D.C., where she drafted orders and opinions in contract, land, and personnel appeals. Ms. Scates subsequently worked at the State of Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals where she wrote opinions and orders on behalf of the Presiding Judge. Upon moving to California, she joined the Sacramento law firm of Mastagni, Holstedt, and Amick where she represented employees in claims for workers’ compensation benefits, Labor Code Section 132a discrimination claims, Serious and Willful Misconduct claims, and in hearings before the Social Security Administration.
Ms. Scates received two Bachelor of Arts degrees (Political Science and Sociology) from the University of Southern California and a Juris Doctorate degree from Oklahoma City University School of Law.
Ms. Scates is admitted to the California State Bar and is licensed to practice law in all California courts.
California Supreme Court, Camper v. Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board of the State of California, J.C. Penny Company, Inc. (1992) 3 Cal.4th 679, 836 P.2d 888, 57 Cal. Comp. Cases. 644.
California Court of Appeal, Third Appellate District, Ford Construction Company, Inc., v. Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board (2010) 75 Cal. Comp. Cases 953 (unpublished).