HOUSTON – July 27, 2021 – Ogletree Deakins, one of the largest labor and employment law firms representing management, welcomes John D. Surma to its Houston office as shareholder. John’s practice focuses on workplace safety and health matters, including preventive advice and counseling, regulatory actions, and investigations. John represents employers in a wide array of industries, including aviation, refinery, chemical, manufacturing, construction, engineering, transportation, industrial service, and nuclear energy. John joins Ogletree Deakins from Jackson Lewis, where he was a principal.
A large part of John’s workplace safety and health experience stems from counseling and representing employers throughout the United States before a variety of regulatory agencies, including the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), the U.S. Chemical Safety Board, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Federal Railroad Administration/American Association of Railroads, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, and the Texas Department of Public Safety.
John aides employers with the interpretation and application of OSHA standards, reviews and develops compliance programs, audits compliance programs and advises clients concerning deficiencies, consults on regulations and their applicability to businesses, assists with permitting issues, and prepares clients for and represents them in regulatory actions and inspections. He also advises his regulatory compliance clients on risk management and workplace safety and security.
John has a depth of experience leading investigations associated with catastrophic workplace incidents causing injury and death. He has investigated catastrophes including plant and refinery explosions and fires, construction accidents, trucking accidents, pipeline accidents, mechanical equipment failures, safety program failures, equipment operation errors, electrical safety failures, chemical releases, and structural failures. He often represents clients in both the regulatory and civil litigation that follows and has extensive trial experience.
“Workplace safety and health are paramount for any employer, especially, with added compliance measures and legal challenges driven by the pandemic,” said Carolyn Russell, managing shareholder of Ogletree Deakins’ Houston office. “John is a vital asset to the Workplace Safety and Health practice group, the Houston office, and the firm due to his knowledge in this field and our shared vision for providing premier client service.”
John has held the Distinguished® rating from Martindale-Hubbell® since 2000. He is a member of the Defense Research Institute. John earned his J.D. from the University of Wisconsin Law School and his B.S., summa cum laude, from the University of Wisconsin – Platteville.
About Ogletree Deakins
Ogletree Deakins is one of the largest labor and employment law firms representing management in all types of employment-related legal matters. Premier client service, as outlined in the firm’s Client Pledge, is one of the firm’s top priorities and a cornerstone of its core values. U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” has named Ogletree Deakins a “Law Firm of the Year” for 10 consecutive years. In 2021, the publication named Ogletree Deakins its “Law Firm of the Year” in the Litigation – Labor & Employment category. Ogletree Deakins has more than 900 attorneys located in 53 offices across the United States and in Europe, Canada, and Mexico. The firm represents a diverse range of clients, from small businesses to Fortune 50 companies. www.ogletree.com