The Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Division maintains a panel of ALJs who have been trained, and who have served, as ADR neutrals. These ALJs have completed a 40-hour program at the CPUC, the National Judicial College (NJC), or other providers. Many ALJs have received supplemental training at the NJC, Harvard Law School, University of Southern California, U.S. District Court, and programs. ALJs also receive periodic short-training courses throughout the year. The current ADR panel is made up of the following ALJs:
Biographies for ADR Neutrals
Karl J. Bemesderfer
Karl J. Bemesderfer joined the PUC as an Administrative Law Judge in 2002 after practicing law in Illinois and California for 30 years. During his legal career, Judge Bemesderfer served as in-house counsel to several major corporations and as a partner in a San Francisco law firm. In addition to his work as a practicing lawyer, he was an arbitrator for the American Arbitration Association and a receiver of large commercial properties. As an ALJ, his caseload has included telecommunications, transportation, water and oil pipeline matters. Judge Bemesderfer is a graduate of the College of The University of Chicago and the Harvard Law School.
Maribeth A. Bushey is an Administrative Law Judge at the California Public Utilities Commission. Prior to her appointment 1995, she practiced public utility law before state and federal regulators as in-house counsel for the Bonneville Power Administration, Portland General Electric Company, and San Diego Gas and Electric Company. Judge Bushey’s work at the Commission has focused on complex general rate cases and contentious enforcement proceedings for water, telephone, and transportation companies.
Judge Bushey holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry from the Northern Michigan University and a Juris Doctorate, cum laude, from Northwestern School of Law, Lewis and Clark College. She also has completed judicial course work at the National Judicial College, University of Nevada at Reno; and mediation training through University of California, Hastings College of Law.
Judge Bushey is a member of the Oregon and California Bar Associations. Judge Bushey serves in the Marin County Superior Courts as a Civil Settlement Conference Panelist and Civil Court Appointed Judicial Arbitrator. She also was appointed to three four-year terms on the City of San Rafael Planning Commission.
Richard W. Clark
Richard W. Clark joined the ALJ Division as an administrative law judge on August 1, 2011.
Judge Clark holds a liberal studies bachelors degree in history, political science and sociology from San Diego State University, and he graduated with honors from the University of San Diego's graduate level lawyers assistant program, specializing in litigation. Before joining the Commission in 2000, Judge Clark worked in labor law enforcement for over 20 years, serving as a Deputy Labor Commissioner (Peace Officer), as the Chief Deputy Labor Commissioner of the State of California, and in operating his own private investigations agency.
Judge Clark was Director of the Commission’s Consumer Protection and Safety Division from September 2000 through August 2011. During his tenure as Director of CPSD, Judge Clark was tasked with influencing and implementing, and heading the enforcement of, the Commission's consumer protection and safety policies relative to electricity, natural gas, communications, household goods carriers and passenger carriers, and the Commission's safety policies relative to freight railroads, passenger railroads, rail transit systems, and rail crossings.
W. Anthony Colbert
W. Anthony Colbert has served as an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) since September 2010. Prior to his service with the CPUC ALJ Colbert was a Senior Counsel with the California Department of Corporations, where he had worked since 1994. As a member of the Department’s Security Regulation Division, Mr. Colbert’s areas of primary responsibility included the review and disposition of applications for the offer and/or sale of securities and franchises in California. At Corporations, Mr. Colbert acted as a Hearing Officer five to ten times a year, conducting hearings pursuant to §25142 of the CSL and §3a(10) of the Securities Act. Over the years he has presided in hearings for Cisco, Yahoo, Apple, and the Pacific Stock Exchange. He received his J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law, and did his undergraduate work at the University of California, Santa Barbara and the University of St. Andrews in Scotland.
Mr. Colbert has been a panelist/presenter for various continuing education courses and at the State Bar convention, as well as a speaker on Fairness Hearings and California Securities Law before the Santa Clara Bar Association, San Francisco Bar Association, and Los Angeles Bar Association. The California Business Law Practitioner published an article by Mr. Colbert on Fairness Hearings in its spring 2010 edition. He has served as an expert witness in Criminal, Civil and Administrative Hearings. Mr. Colbert is married with two children, Maya (18) and Blaise (11). He has been a mentor for the Balboa High School Law Academy, which is sponsored by the San Francisco Bar Association, and coaches his son’s track team.
Regina DeAngelis is an Administrative Law Judge at the California Public Utilities Commission. She has practiced in the area of public utility law for approximately 15 years and has been an Administrative Law Judge since 2007. Prior to her work as an Administrative Law Judge, DeAngelis worked as an attorney for several law firms in San Francisco and the Commission’s Legal Division. During her career, she has participated in energy, water, and telecommunications matters before the Commission. Judge DeAngelis holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Northwestern University and a Juris Doctor degree from Boston University School of Law. She also has completed judicial course work at the National Judicial College, University of Nevada at Reno; and mediation training through University of California, Hastings College of Law.
Melanie M. Darling
Melanie Darling has been an Administrative Law Judge with the California Public Utilities Commission since August 2008. Her background includes staff work in the California Legislature, regulatory compliance in the private financial sector, and both law firm and solo practice focused in bankruptcy and commercial law. Prior to joining the Commission, Judge Darling served eight years as Senior Tax Counsel with the Board of Equalization, primarily serving as an advisor to Board Members. In that capacity she analyzed a wide range of tax and fee appeals, proposed rules, legislation, and property tax valuations of state assessed public utilities including energy, telecommunications, and railroad companies.
Ms. Darling graduated from CSU Fullerton in Political Science and received her law degree cum laude from University of San Francisco School of Law. She has participated in NASD arbitrations, coursework at the National Judicial College, and taken mediation courses at USF School of Law and U.C. Hastings School of Law.
Dorothy Duda is an Administrative Law Judge at the California Public Utilities Commission, and has been an Administrative Law Judge since 2000. She has presided over a wide variety of energy policy and telecommunications proceedings and mediated disputes in several industry areas.
From 1996 to 2000, Judge Duda served as an Advisor to Commissioners Jessie Knight and Richard Bilas, advising them on regulatory issues in the telecommunications, energy, water and transportation industries. From 1992 to 1996, Judge Duda worked as a staff expert on natural gas, electric, and telecommunications issues, supporting Commission decision-making and implementation efforts in both energy and telecommunications.
Judge Duda holds a B.A. in Public Policy Analysis and Government from Pomona College and an M.B.A. from the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley. She has also completed courses at the National Judicial College and training in mediation and alternative dispute resolution. She serves on the board of her children's nonprofit daycare center, is an active Girl Scout leader, and teaches alcohol and drug abuse awareness classes at a local elementary school.
Maryam Ebke is an Administrative Judge at the California Public Utilities Commission. Her current work includes energy and water applications.
Judge Ebke has been with the Commission since 1990. Before becoming an Administrative Law Judge, Judge Ebke worked on various major electric policy proceedings at the CPUC. Between 2004 and 2005, Judge Ebke acted as the interim director of the Division of Strategic Planning at the CPUC, working extensively with management on issues related to the agency such as budgeting and management policies. During that time, she managed staff’s work on telecommunication, water and energy issues. Judge Ebke has represented the PUC in interagency meetings and workshops on issues related to energy planning, procurement and transmission planning and permitting.
Prior to her work at the CPUC, Judge Ebke worked as a consulting engineer designing mechanical systems for high rise buildings. Judge Ebke holds a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from California State University, Sacramento and is a licensed mechanical engineer in the State of California. She has also completed coursework at the National Judicial College in Reno, Nevada.
Julie Fitch became an Administrative Law Judge in October 2011. She was previously the Director of the Commission’s Energy Division for three years, overseeing a staff of approximately 140 analysts and engineers who cover all aspects of the Commission’s energy-related responsibilities. She also served for three years as the Policy and Planning Director for the Commission, as well as four years as the lead energy advisor to Commission President Michael Peevey. In all of these roles at the CPUC, she has been heavily involved in the development of the agency’s energy-related environmental policies, focusing on climate change, renewables market development, and energy efficiency. Prior to her work at the CPUC, Ms. Fitch worked for six years as a consultant designing demand-side management programs for electric utility clients and supporting energy efficiency programs in developing countries funded by international aid organizations such as the World Bank.
Ms. Fitch holds a Master’s Degree in Russian and East European Studies from Harvard University and a Bachelor’s Degree in International Relations from George Washington University. She has also completed judicial coursework at the National Judicial College and mediation training at the University of California, Hastings College of Law. Finally, she has a great deal of practical mediation experience gained as part of the five-member CPUC staff team facilitating a settlement of Qualifying Facility (Combined Heat and Power) issues before the CPUC, which took nearly two years and settled multiple court cases, while also resolving open issues in several dozen related CPUC proceedings.
Since 2006, David Gamson has been an Administrative Law Judge at the California Public Utilities Commission. Previous to that, he served as advisor and Chief of Staff for California Public Utilities Commissioner Geoffrey F. Brown from 2001 through 2006, and as energy advisor for CPUC Commissioner Josiah L. Neeper from 1995 to 2000. Mr. Gamson has been a member of the California Board for Energy Efficiency, and the Staff Committee on Resources and the Environment of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners. From 1993 to 1995, David was Committee Consultant to the California State Senate Committee on Energy and Public Utilities. David earned his B.A. degree from Pomona College and his Masters Degree in Public Policy from the Graduate School (now Goldman School) of Public Policy at U.C. Berkeley.
Jessica T. Hecht
Jessica Hecht has been an Administrative Law Judge at the California Public Utilities Commission since January 2007. Her case assignments as an ALJ have focused on the energy industry, especially in the areas of demand response and advanced metering infrastructure.
Judge Hecht joined the Commission in 2001 as a regulatory analyst in the Commission’s Office of Ratepayer Advocates (now the Division of Ratepayer Advocates), where she worked on a variety of proceedings and coordinated the division’s work related to low-income energy assistance programs. Before moving to ALJ Division, Judge Hecht also worked as a senior regulatory analyst in the Commission’s Consumer Service and Information Division. Judge Hecht has extensive experience facilitating meetings and workshops, both at the Commission and elsewhere.
Judge Hecht holds a Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of California at Berkeley, and received a Masters Degree in Public Affairs and Policy Analysis from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her additional training includes completion of the Commission’s Leadership Academy in 2006, multiple courses in negotiation and mediation, and course work at the National Judicial College.
Kelly A. Hymes
Kelly A. Hymes has been an Administrative Law Judge at the California Public Utilities Commission since 2011. Her case assignments have focused on energy and telecommunications issues. Before becoming an ALJ, Judge Hymes served as Advisor to Commissioner Dian Grueneich for five years. In that capacity, she briefed the Commissioner on telecommunications, transportation, and low income issues. Judge Hymes also spent five years as a Commission Regulatory Analyst in the former Telecommunications Division.
Judge Hymes has a Masters Degree in Public Administration from Golden Gate University and a B.A. in Urban Studies from the University of Maryland, College Park. She has also completed course work at the National Judicial College.
Kimberly H. Kim
Kimberly H. Kim is an Administrative Law Judge at the California Public Utilities Commission. She graduated from Hasting College of the Law in 1993. Since then, she has served as an in-house counsel, has worked in private practice, and has litigated in civil, criminal, administrative and appellate arenas.
In 2008, Judge Kim joined the CPUC and her work since has focused on energy proceedings and transit safety proceedings, but she has also presided over proceedings in a variety of subject areas including water, and telecommunications.
Douglas M. Long
Douglas M. Long has been an Administrative Law Judge at the California Public Utilities Commission, since 2002. Judge Long has presided over energy and water industry ratemaking matters.
Prior to 2002, Judge Long was a Program Manager for 13 years, and earlier, was a Principal Financial Examiner for 3 more years, serving as a branch manager first for the former Commission Advisory & Compliance Division and then the current Energy Division. Judge Long briefly served as the Commission’s Ex Officio member of the California Independent System Operator’s Board of Governors in 2000. Judge Long joined the Commission staff in 1977.
Judge Long’s educational background includes a Bachelors of Economics degree from the James Cook University of North Queensland (Australia), and both a Bachelors and Masters of Science (Accounting) degrees from Golden Gate University (San Francisco, California). He has also completed a Certificate in Judicial Development, Administrative Law Adjudication Skills, at the National Judicial College (NJC), as well as training in alternative dispute resolution at U.C. Hastings College of the Law, mediation training at NJC, and continuing education on public utility regulation in U.C. Berkeley’s graduate school program.
Katherine Kwan MacDonald
Katherine Kwan MacDonald has been an Administrative Law Judge since 2009. Her case assignments as an ALJ have focused on telecommunications and energy matters. Prior to joining the Commission, Judge MacDonald was a hearing officer at the Board of Equalization hearing appeals of California income and business tax matters. She also served as tax advisor to elected Board Member Johan Klehs from 2000-2002. Between 1996 and 1999, Judge MacDonald practiced general civil litigation with a focus in professional liability defense, employment, and landlord tenant matters. Judge MacDonald obtained a B.A. from the University of California at Los Angeles in 1990, a J.D. from Whittier Law School in 1996, and an LLM in Taxation from Golden Gate in 2000. Her additional training includes completion of courses in negotiation and mediation, and course work at the National Judicial College.
Jeanne M. McKinney
Jeanne M. McKinney is an Administrative Law Judge at the California Public Utilities Commission. Her assignments include energy, water and telecommunications proceedings. Judge McKinney’s prior experience includes serving as senior counsel to an independent energy producer and handling business disputes and transactions at two San Francisco law firms. Judge McKinney received her Juris Doctor from University of California Hastings College of the Law where she served as Editor-in-Chief of the Hastings Law Journal. She received her undergraduate degree in Theatre Arts from Smith College. Judge McKinney completed the Civil Mediation training program at the National Judicial College.
Myra J. Prestidge
Myra Prestidge is an Administrative Law Judge at the California Public Utilities Commission. She has been an Administrative Law Judge with the Commission since 1999 and has handled complaint, administrative rulemaking, energy, and telecommunications cases.
She graduated from the University of Santa Clara in 1984 and is a licensed attorney in California. Before coming to the Commission, Ms. Prestidge spent the majority of her legal career advising and representing local governments on municipal law issues, including contracts, public construction, tort claims, land use, code enforcement, conflicts of interest, and labor and employment law matters. She has served as Senior Assistant City Attorney for the City of Mountain View and Assistant City Attorney for the cities of American Canyon and Redwood City.
Thomas R. Pulsifer
Thomas Pulsifer is an Administrative Law Judge at the California Public Utilities Commission, a position he has held since 1991. In his capacity as an ALJ, Mr. Pulsifer serves as presiding officer, conducts hearings and prepares proposed decisions in formal proceedings before the Commission. Since 1991, he has presided over various major policy proceedings dealing with electric, gas, and telecommunications industry matters.
Prior to 1991, Mr. Pulsifer was employed at the Commission as a Program and Project Supervisor (PPS) (from 1986 to 1991) and as a Financial Examiner from 1977 to 1986). As a PPS, Mr. Pulsifer was responsible for supervising and coordinating the work of professional staff and contract consultants in major gas and electric proceedings, including the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant Prudency Review and the proposed Southern Calif. Edison/SDG&E merger. As a Financial Examiner with the Commission, he was responsible for conducting and supervising various audits, financial studies, and specialized regulatory analysis in gas, electric, and water utility proceedings.
Mr. Pulsifer is a Certified Public Accountant, licensed by the State of California. His educational background includes a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Business Administration (with an accounting concentration) from California State University Sacramento and a Master of Business Administration (with a concentration in finance) from California State University East Bay. He has also completed course work with the National Judicial College in Reno, Nevada. ALJ Pulsifer has completed Commission training in alternative dispute resolution.
Linda Rochester is an Administrative Law Judge at the California Public Utilities Commission. Her case assignments have focused on water, transportation and telecommunications. Judge Rochester has been with the Commission since 1986, working in the Transportation Division, Division of Ratepayer Advocates and the Communications Division. Her functions within the divisions included acting as the project manager on a range of projects, appearing as an expert witness in various proceedings, preparing legislative analysis and implementing and administering telecommunications public policy programs.
Judge Rochester has a Bachelor of Arts from California State University, Sacramento and a law degree from Empire College of Law. She has completed course work in Fair Hearings and Evidence at the National Judicial College, Reno, Nevada and 40 hours of Commission-sponsored Alternative Dispute Resolution training through U.C. Hastings College of the Law.
Melissa Semcer has been an Administrative Law Judge at the California Pubic Utilities Commission since 2010, focusing primarily on energy-related cases. Since joining the Public Utilities Commission in 2007, Judge Semcer has worked on a variety of topics including utility long-term procurement planning and climate change. As a Senior Analyst, Judge Semcer served as a mediator/facilitator on a complex, multi-party negotiation spanning two years that successfully resolved over thirty years of conflict and developed a new pathway forward for a specific generation resource in California. Prior to joining the Public Utilities Commission, Judge Semcer’s career included such varied activities as working in supplier diversity at a Fortune 200 company, marketing at a textiles company, and developing best-practices research in pediatric healthcare.
Judge Semcer is passionate about using mediation as a tool to bring parties together in order to better understand positions and develop creative solutions that would not otherwise be possible using standard litigation and policy development processes. She has received formal training in facilitation and has applied her skills on numerous occasions, including facilitating high-level stakeholders to develop a comprehensive energy policy in another state. In addition, Judge Semcer has received mediation training at the University of California, Hastings School of Law and has attended the National Judicial College. Judge Semcer holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a Masters of Environmental Management from Duke University, and is a trained life-coach. She draws on her diverse background and training in various modalities to be an effective and efficient mediator.
Anne E. Simon
Anne Simon is an Administrative Law Judge at the California Public Utilities Commission. Her case assignments include energy programs, telecommunications, and rail safety. As an ALJ, Judge Simon serves as presiding officer, conducts hearings and prepares proposed decisions in formal proceedings before the Commission.
Prior to coming to the Commission in 2002, Judge Simon served for six years as an administrative law judge in the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. In that capacity, she conducted evidentiary hearings, resolved discovery disputes, and prepared proposed decisions in appeals of agency decisions. She also facilitated settlement conferences for cases in the formal hearing process.
Judge Simon holds a Bachelor of Arts in history from Harvard University and a Juris Doctor degree from Yale Law School. She has also completed course work at the National Judicial College. Judge Simon has practiced as an attorney in the areas of environmental law, civil rights, and international human rights in Connecticut, New York, and California.
Richard Smith is an Administrative Law Judge at the California Public Utilities Commission. His assignments have included energy, telecommunications, and water industry proceedings.
Prior to becoming an ALJ, Richard served in the Commission’s Telecommunications Division. His Commission experience includes serving as a Commissioner Advisor on telecommunications and transportation matters, as Deputy Director and Interim Director of the Office of Ratepayer Advocates, and as a regulatory analyst and advocate on telecommunications matters.
Judge Smith has many years of experience in the telecommunications industry performing financial and information systems support functions for Pacific Bell, and managing regulatory affairs for Cox Communications’ western states telephone operations. Richard has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, and a Master's degree in City and Regional Planning from Harvard University. He has also completed course work at the National Judicial College.
Timothy J. Sullivan
Timothy J. Sullivan is an Administrative Law Judge at the Public Utilities Commission. Judge Sullivan has broad experience throughout the Commission over his 20 year career. He has served as an advisor to four Commissioners. His work has covered all areas of Commission regulation.
Judge Sullivan holds a Ph.D. in public policy from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and an AB in mathematics from Yale. He has also completed course work at the National Judicial College and at USC.
Judge Sullivan authored Resolving Development Disputes through Negotiation, which examined the role of bargaining and mediation as an alternative to litigation in advancing the public interest. Judge Sullivan has also taken additional mediation training at the Commission.
Jean Vieth, the Coordinator of the ADR program, has been an Administrative Law Judge since 1998. ALJ Vieth’s diverse assignments span all CPUC-regulated industries -- energy, telecommunications, water and transportation – and typically include customer and competitor complaints and Commission-initiated investigations, as well as other types of regulatory proceedings. Since joining the CPUC in 1989, ALJ Vieth has held positions as staff counsel, appellate counsel, and legislative counsel, and she served two Commissioners as an advisor on energy, water, and legal matters. Early in her career she practiced general business litigation as an associate with the San Francisco law firm Stimmel & Stimmel, PC (now Stimmel, Stimmel & Smith, PC), where she represented clients in the courts and before various arbitration panels.
ALJ Vieth received a Juris Doctor from Golden Gate University School of Law and did undergraduate work at Denison University and at the University of Idaho, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Plant Science. She is a trained facilitator, mediator and early neutral evaluator and continues to hone her ADR skills through practice and ongoing study.
Gary Weatherford, an Administrative Law Judge at the CPUC since 2009, has extensive experience in western water law and policy. Formerly he was a partner with the law firm of Weatherford & Taaffe LLP in San Francisco, California, where he specialized in water resources law. He received certified mediator training by CDR Associates (Denver) in 2004. His water-related assignments at the CPUC have included matters concerning contaminated water, the accounting treatment of contamination proceeds, recycled water, CPUC jurisdiction and moratoria on connections. He has been Director of the John Muir Institute, Deputy Secretary for Resources for the State of California, and a Special Assistant both to the Solicitor, U.S. Department of the Interior, and to the U. S. Attorney General. Mr. Weatherford has taught water and natural resources law at the law schools of the University of Oregon, UCLA, and the University of Santa Clara. He is a board member of the Water Education Foundation. He has served on the Water Science and Technology Board of the National Research Council, the Advisory Committee of the Water Resources Research Center and the board of the Water Resources Archives at the University of California, and on the advisory board of the Congressionally-funded Utton Transboundary Resources Center in New Mexico. Published works include Acquiring Water for Energy (1982, Editor), Water and Agriculture in the Western U.S. (1982, Editor), New Courses for the Colorado River (1986, Co-Editor), and “Decree Enforcement Comes to the Law of the River,” Rocky Mt. Mineral Law Institute (2003). Mr. Weatherford is a member of the California Bar (Inactive) and holds a law degree from Yale University.
Seaneen M. Wilson
Seaneen M. Wilson is an Administrative Law Judge at the California Public Utilities Commission. Her case assignments have focused on energy, telecommunications, water, and transportation. Judge Wilson has been with the Commission since 1981, working in the Division of Ratepayer Advocates, Energy Division, and the Division of Water and Audits. Her functions within the divisions included appearing as an expert witness in various proceedings, preparing testimony and legislative analysis, and acting as a liaison to the Low Income Oversight Board.
Judge Wilson has a Bachelor of Arts from Santa Clara University. She has completed course work in Fair Hearings and Evidence at the National Judicial College, Reno, Nevada as well as Alternative Dispute Resolution training through the University of California Hastings College of the Law.
Hallie Yacknin is an Administrative Law Judge at the California Public Utilities Commission. As an ALJ, Judge Yacknin serves as presiding officer and conducts hearings and prepares proposed decisions in formal proceedings before the Commission. She also is currently serving as a law and motion judge and, in that capacity, handles protective orders and discovery disputes.
Before becoming an Administrative Law Judge, Judge Yacknin served as an Assistant General Counsel in the Commission's Legal Division for six years. In that capacity, she advised the Office of Ratepayer Advocates in the litigation of energy, water, and telecommunications proceedings before the Commission, and supervised a group of 12 attorneys providing legal services to the office.
Judge Yacknin has been with the Commission since 1988 and, until becoming an assistant general counsel, served as staff counsel in the Legal Division representing staff primarily in electric and gas matters before the Commission.
Judge Yacknin received her J.D. and a Master of Arts degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Iowa, and her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California at Davis. She has also completed course work at the National Judicial College.