CMC Spotlight Series: Meet Mark Trapp!

As a Partner in Conn Maciel Carey’s Chicago office, Mark Trapp specializes in labor and employment law with our Employment Practice Group.  He arbitrates, litigates, and advises clients on multiemployer pension funds and withdrawal liability issues, as well as labor relations, union elections, and collective bargaining. He also handles various types of employment litigation and grievance arbitrations. Between 2014 and 2017, Mark was recommended in the Labor-Management Relations category by The Legal 500 United States and has been selected to Super Lawyers from 2020 to 2023.

Get to Know Mark!

Mark FamilyWhere is your favorite vacation spot?

My family doesn’t have one specific favorite. My wife is from Mexico, so we celebrate each daughter’s quinceañera—a traditional celebration of a girl’s fifteenth birthday. But instead of having the usual party, we decided to let them choose anywhere they wanted to go and make it a special trip just for them. So far, we’ve had three daughters reach that milestone. We’ve traveled to London and Hawaii, and we enjoyed a Disney cruise. Our youngest daughter is approaching 15, and we can’t wait to see what she chooses. She’s leaning toward Alaska, but she’s not sure.

We’ve also been camping in Gettysburg many times, including during the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg. It’s a great place for hiking and history.

What was your first job? Continue reading

[Webinar] MSHA’s 2022 in Review and 2023 Forecast

This coming Tuesday, February 21, 2023 at 1 p.m. EST, join Nicholas W. Scala for a webinar regarding MSHA’s 2022 in Review and 2023 Forecast.

CaptureWith 2022 behind us, now is the time to take stock of the state of MSHA as the Biden Administration enters its third year. MSHA’s senior political leadership is now in place, and with that, we expect to see MSHA’s true agenda for rulemaking and enforcement take shape and be put into action.

This webinar will review the past year’s enforcement trends and initiatives, as well as the regulatory agenda, highlighting the evolution of MSHA, and its priorities for the coming year.

Participants in this webinar will learn the following:

  • 2022 MSHA enforcement data, predictions for future areas of emphasis
  • Enforcement trends, initiatives, and areas of emphasis
  • MSHA’s rulemaking agenda for the year

Click here to register for the February 21st webinar. Continue reading

Announcing Conn Maciel Carey LLP’s 2023 MSHA Webinar Series!

Entering MSHA’s third year under the Biden Administration, the mining industry should expect to see a more active and emboldened agency. The past year saw the completion of MSHA political leadership, and a renewed focus on rulemaking and enforcement. In the year to come, operators can expect to see at least two rules from the agency, specifically regarding MSHA’s long-awaited proposed rule on respirable crystalline silica – or respirable quartz as MSHA sometimes refers – and the final form or the Surface Mobile Equipment rule. In conjunction with the anticipated silica rule, MSHA continues to engage in increasingly aggressive enforcement regarding industrial hygiene at the nation’s mines. The coming year will be active from both an enforcement and rulemaking perspective, meaning it is as important as ever for operators to stay attuned to developments at MSHA.

Conn Maciel Carey’s complimentary 2023 MSHA Webinar Series includes free programs put on by the MSHA-focused attorneys in the firm’s national MSHA Practice Group and is designed to give employers insight into the changes and developments at MSHA during this active period for the agency.

To register for an individual webinar in the series, click on the link in the program description below, or to register for the entire 2023 series, click here to send us an email request so we can get you registered.  If you missed any of our past programs from the MSHA Webinar Series, here is a link to a library of webinar recordings.  If your organization or association would benefit from an exclusive program presented by our team on any of the subjects in this year’s webinar series or any other important MSHA-related topic, please do not hesitate to contact us.


MSHA’s 2022 in Review and 2023 Forecast
Tuesday, February 21st


Mid-Year Update and FMSHRC Significant Cases
Wednesday, July 19th


The Mine Act and MSHA Inspection Powers
Thursday, March 23rd


Managing MSHA Complaint & 105(c) Investigations
Tuesday, September 12th


Preparing for Serious Accident and Fatality Investigations
Tuesday, April 18th


Safety-Related Incident Investigations and Audit Reports
Thursday, October 5th


Where Does MSHA’s Authority Begin and OSHA’s End?
Tuesday, May 16th


Best Practices at Multi-Operator MSHA Sites
Wednesday November 15th 

See below for the full schedule with program descriptions,
dates, times and links to register for each webinar event.

Continue reading

MSHA Releases Increased Penalties for 2023

By: Nicholas W. Scala & Ashley Mitchell 

Adhering to what is now an annual requirement since the passage of the Inflation Adjustment Act in 2016, on January 13th the Mine Safety & Health Administration (MSHA) published a Final Rule updating the penalties used when assessing fines for citations and orders for the coming year. The increased penalties will determine assessments for mine production operators and independent contractors for all citations and orders assessed after January 15th. This annual update to MSHA’s penalty authority is tied to national inflation metrics, meaning when there is significant inflation in the economy, the penalty increase is greater. This year the penalty increase is slightly above 7% from 2022. 

For the most basic citations like 104(a) Citations, the increase is minimal. The statutory minimum penalty for regularly assessed penalties increases from $148 to $159. The increase becomes more noticeable when citations and orders are classified more seriously and therefore creep further up MSHA’s regular assessment penalty conversion chart. For example, the statutory maximum for regularly assessed penalties under 30 C.F.R. Section 100.3 is now $85,580 up from $79,428 in 2022.

Other increases of note include:

  • Minimum Penalty for 104(d)(1) Citation/Order
    • An increase from $2,648 to $2,853
  • Minimum Penalty for 104(d)(2) Order
    • An increase from $5,293 to $5,703
  • Minimum Penalty for Failure to Notify MSHA of an Accident within 15 Minutes
    • An increase from $6,620 to $7,133 (the maximum follows Section 100.3 max listed above)
  • Maximum Daily Penalty for Failing to Abate MSHA Citation (104(b) Order)
    • An increase from $8,605 to $9,271
  • Maximum Penalty for Flagrant Violations under Section 110(b)(2)
    • An increase from $291,234 to $313,790

Annually, MSHA has until January 15th of each calendar year to increase the penalty assessment limits. The new penalties will become evident as mine operators begin to receive Proposed Assessments and Statements of Accounts from MSHA following the issuance of citations or orders from now forward in 2023. The increase in penalties in no way impacts mine operators’ option to contest any assessed citation or order, and as penalties continue to increase MSHA may find more operators contesting to ease the financial burden.

(For more information on the history of these increases see our 2016 blog post on the implementation of the Inflation Adjustment Act and its Catch-up Provisions by the Department of Labor)

Conn Maciel Carey LLP Elevates Daniel Deacon to Partner

Conn Maciel Carey LLP (CMC), a boutique law firm with national practices in labor and employment, workplace safety (OSHA and MSHA), and litigation, is pleased to announce that Daniel Deacon has been elevated to Partner.

Mr. Deacon, based in the Washington, DC office, advises and represents employers on a wide range of employment-related issues, including handling wage and hour disputes, claims of discrimination, harassment and retaliation, compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), trade secret matters, as well as inspections, investigations and enforcement actions by OSHA, MSHA, and state OSH agencies.

Mr. Deacon joined the firm in 2015, one year after CMC was founded. “With the exception of a judicial clerkship for the 18th Judicial Circuit of Virginia, Dan has been with our team since he was a summer associate, so in a very real sense, he is one of the founders of this firm and has always been an important part of our success,” says Eric Conn, a co-founding partner and Chair of the firm’s national OSHA Practice. “It has been such a joy to watch Dan grow as an attorney into one of the rising stars of the OSHA defense bar.”

“I am so proud to have witnessed Dan advance from a Continue reading

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year from Conn Maciel Carey!

From all of us here in the national MSHA Workplace Safety Practice Group at Conn Maciel Carey, to all of you, happy holidays and happy New Year.  We wish you a joyful and safe holiday season.

Please enjoy this holiday greeting from the CMC family to your family:


We have so much to be thankful for at Conn Maciel Carey, but most of all, we thank you all for continuing to turn to us for counsel and legal services.  Please contact us if you have questions about any of the topics we have covered here on the MSHA Defense Report blog, or if you have ideas for other subjects we should be covering.  And of course, contact any of us if there is ever anything our national MSHA Workplace Safety Practice Group at Conn Maciel Carey can do to help you or your company with MSHA law issues.

Conn Maciel Carey LLP Adds the Former Top Workplace Safety and Employment Attorney for the State of North Carolina

Conn Maciel Carey LLP, a Washington, D.C.-based boutique law firm with a national focus on OSHA/MSHA • Workplace Safety and Labor • Employment, is pleased to announce that Victoria Voight is now with the firm as an Of Counsel attorney in both the firm’s OSHA and Employment law practices.

Over four decades, Ms. Voight served the State of North Carolina in the Attorney General’s Office, ultimately as the Head of the Labor Section for eighteen years. In that role, Ms. Voight supervised all legal services provided to the North Carolina Department of Labor, principally in the areas of occupational safety and health (for North Carolina OSHA), wage and hour, retaliation, and employment discrimination. With that background, Ms. Voight brings to private practice a unique perspective, unparalleled experience, and key relationships with officials in North Carolina state government.

Ms. Voight is based in Raleigh, North Carolina, where she now provides the full range of workplace safety and health regulatory and employment law services for employers in North Carolina and around the country. She advises clients in relation to inspections, investigations and enforcement actions involving the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and State OSH Plans, particularly NCOSHA. She also counsels employers in all aspects of the employer-employee relationship, including wage and hour disputes and claims of employment discrimination and retaliation.

“From the other side of the table, I was always impressed with the attorneys at Conn Maciel Carey when they were advocating for employers in disputes with NCOSHA. They brought credibility, creativity, and a safety-focused approach to every case we had opposite each other, and that was so refreshing and effective for their clients.” said Ms. Voight. She added, Continue reading

[CMC Spotlight Series] Meet Trevor Thompson!

In honor of National Paralegal Day this week, we are proud to feature one of our stellar paralegals for today’s CMC Spotlight Series — Trevor Thompson!  Trevor is a Cal/OSHA Paralegal in Conn Maciel Carey’s San Francisco office.  He has more than a decade of experience in the legal field and supports the attorneys in the OSHA • Workplace Safety Group as well as the Labor • Employment, and Litigation groups.

Trevor is particularly skilled in the organization and analysis of legal documentation. Prior to joining the firm, he was a Legal Document Specialist providing legal, trial and administrative support for several national law firms.

Get to Know Trevor!

Continue reading

Conn Maciel Carey LLP Expands Midwest Workplace Safety Practice With Addition of OSHA Defense Attorney Anthony Casaletta – a Former Michigan OSHA Official

Detroit, MI (September 29, 2022) – Conn Maciel Carey LLP, a Washington, D.C.-based boutique law firm with a national focus on OSHA/MSHA • Workplace Safety and Labor & Employment, is pleased to announce that Anthony Casaletta has become an Of Counsel attorney with the firm.

Mr. Casaletta, an OSHA defense attorney, is based in the Detroit area in Michigan, where he counsels and defends employers in a wide range of workplace health and safety matters conducted by Federal OSHA and State OSH Plans, including particularly, the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“MIOSHA”). He also supports employers in all aspects of OSHA and MIOSHA enforcement, from managing on-site inspections and investigations, to litigating contested citations through ALJ hearings and appeals, and counseling on compliance with OSHA rules and standards.

“I am thrilled to have this opportunity to join Conn Maciel Carey’s deep bench of talented attorneys,” said Mr. Casaletta. “I was drawn to the firm by their stellar reputation as go-to legal advisors for OSHA workplace safety matters. I look forward to collaborating with the team on industrial hygiene, safety, and all manner of OSHA regulatory matters.”

Prior to entering private practice as an OSHA defense attorney, Mr. Casaletta spent 18 years with Michigan OSHA (“MIOSHA”) in various roles, Continue reading

CMC Spotlight Series – Meet Ashley D. Mitchell!

As an Associate in Conn Maciel Carey LLP’s Chicago office, Ashley D. Mitchell supports both the Workplace Safety (OSHA/MSHA) and Labor and Employment practice groups. She represents and advises clients in employer-employee relationship issues, including wage and hour disputes, Title VII discrimination claims, compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), workplace policies and procedures, harassment training, and employee handbooks.

In support of the MSHA and OSHA • Workplace Safety Practice Groups, Ashley represents employers during federal OSHA & MSHA and State OSH Plan inspections and investigations. She also guides clients in responding to workplace safety complaints and litigates contests of citations.

Ashley brings valuable experience in employee-side employment litigation. Prior to joining the firm, she interned at the Chicago Park District’s Law Department as a Student Attorney. While at the Domestic Violence & Immigration Clinic, she guided clients through the U-Visa application process.

In 2018, Ashley received her J.D. from the University of Illinois College of Law. She also has a B.A. in Government, cum laude, from Georgetown University.

In her spare time, she volunteers by tutoring students preparing for the bar exam.

Get to Know Ashley!

Where is your favorite vacation spot?  

My favorite vacation spot is Cancún. It was my first international vacation and since then, I’ve been several times with family and friends. While I’ve been several times, I’ve never repeated an experience. You can relax, shop, ride an ATV, or explore the culture. Whatever you’re looking for, it’s there—adventure, rest, learning something new.

It’s also a chance for me to practice my Spanish. I often say that I’m proficient in Spanish, not fluent because I learned in academia, so I speak more like an academic than a native speaker. Vacations to Cancún are a great opportunity for me to practice. Keeping up my Spanish language skills is incredibly important to me. My ability to speak Spanish afforded me the opportunity to represent Spanish speaking clients in my law school’s domestic violence and immigration clinic and has proven invaluable in my current practice counseling employers who may have Spanish-speaking employees.

What was your first job?  

My first job was at Continue reading