Office of Administrative Hearings
To provide for the delivery of high-quality adjudication services that ensure fair hearings conducted in a timely, efficient, and cost-effective manner.
Administrative Law Judges
Kathleen A. Frederick, Chief (Anchorage)Kathleen Frederick is the Chief Administrative Law Judge, and manages OAH's Juneau office. Prior to joining OAH in 2014, Chief ALJ Frederick litigated cases statewide for Alaska's Office of Elder Fraud and Assistance, after spending 27 years in private practice. While in private practice, Chief ALJ Frederick focused on administrative law, real estate, business law, litigation, and employment law and was AV-rated by Martindale Hubbell. Chief ALJ Frederick is a Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude graduate of Gettysburg College, and has an M.S. cum laude from Drexel University, as well as a J.D. cum laude from Villanova University School of Law, where she served as Research/Projects Editor of the Villanova Law Review.
Cheryl Mandala, Deputy Chief (Anchorage)Cheryl Mandala is the Deputy Chief Administrative Law Judge, and manages OAH's Anchorage office. Prior to joining OAH in 2015, ALJ Mandala was an Assistant Attorney General in the Torts Section of the Department of Law. She also spent seven years in private law practice, where she handled a variety of employment, tort, and administrative matters at the trial and appellate level for clients throughout Alaska. ALJ Mandala graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Macalester College, holds a master's degree in Public Affairs from the University of Minnesota, and graduated Order of the Coif from Stanford Law School. She served as a law clerk for Alaska Supreme Court Justice Alexander O. Bryner.
Christopher M. Kennedy (Anchorage)ALJ Kennedy joined OAH in 2005 and was OAH's first Deputy Chief, a role he filled for fourteen years. He now serves as one of OAH's Tax-Qualified ALJs. Prior to joining OAH, ALJ Kennedy was a Senior Assistant Attorney General at the Department of Law. In his 11 years the Department of Law, ALJ Kennedy worked in the Environmental, Torts, and Oil, Gas & Mining Sections. He previously served as a law clerk for U.S. District Judge James A. von der Heydt, and spent five years in private practice, where he handled energy, procurement, and utilities litigation; corporate restructuring; and commercial transactions. ALJ Kennedy is a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard University and a graduate of Berkeley Law, where he was an S.K. Yee Scholar and served on the California Law Review.
Rebecca D. Kruse (Anchorage)ALJ Kruse joined the Anchorage office in 2021 and is one of OAH’s Tax-Qualified ALJs. Prior to joining OAH, ALJ Kruse was associate general counsel with an Alaska Native Corporation. Before that, she served the State for more than a decade as a Senior Assistant Attorney General in the Oil, Gas, and Mining Section of the Department of Law and as Unit Section Chief with the Department of Natural Resources, Division of Oil and Gas. Prior to State service, ALJ Kruse spent eight years in private practice litigating complex commercial matters. ALJ Kruse earned her J.D. from University of California Berkeley School of Law, M.A. from Emerson College, and B.S.S. from Cornell College.
Andrew M. Lebo (Anchorage)ALJ Lebo joined OAH's Anchorage office in 2014 with extensive prior experience as a private hearing officer for special education cases. His background includes 17 years as a solo practitioner, four years as an Assistant Ombudsman for the State of Alaska, four years as an associate focusing on business and employment litigation, and one year as a Superior Court law clerk. ALJ Lebo is a graduate of the University of California Santa Cruz, has an M.A. from University of California Davis, and has a J.D. from King Hall, University of California Davis.
Lisa M. Toussaint (Anchorage)ALJ Toussaint joined the Anchorage office of OAH in 2022. Prior to joining OAH, she served as the Administrative Hearing Officer for the Municipality of Anchorage for seven years. She also spent 17 years with the U.S. Department of Interior in Alaska, where she represented federal agencies in environmental, natural resource, and employment litigation, served as a federal hearing officer, and held senior management positions with two Department of Interior bureaus. She also spent five years in private practice at a large Midwestern law firm. ALJ Toussaint graduated summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa from Lawrence University and cum laude from the University of Minnesota Law School, where she was the Director of the Environmental Law Moot Court. She was also a Fulbright Scholar in Germany.
Lawrence A. Pederson (Juneau)Based in Juneau, ALJ Pederson joined OAH in 2012 as part of a merger with the Office of Hearings and Appeals of Alaska's Department of Health and Social Services, where he had served as the senior hearing officer. Prior to that time, he was in private practice for 22 years, handling a wide range of civil and administrative law matters and appearing in state and federal trial and appellate courts. ALJ Pederson attended the University of Alaska Fairbanks and received his J.D. from Willamette University College of Law.
Kent Sullivan (Juneau)ALJ Sullivan joined the OAH's Juneau Office in 2020 with nearly 25 years of litigation experience having represented individuals, businesses, and large institutional clients in private and public settings. Immediately prior to OAH, ALJ Sullivan was a senior litigation associate practicing commercial litigation outside of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Before that ALJ Sullivan served as an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Alaska representing the State in a variety of high-profile disputes and litigation involving access and natural resource issues as well as State versus federal government conflicts. Prior to his State service, ALJ Sullivan was in private practice serving as a partner at separate firms in Alaska and Montana. ALJ Sullivan earned his Juris Doctor, cum laude, from the University of Montana School of Law and his B.Sc., in Forestry, from the University of Montana.
Danika B. Swanson (Juneau)ALJ Swanson joined OAH's Anchorage office in 2019. She has previously represented public agencies, served as a public defender, and served as a Magistrate Judge. Judge Swanson was a law clerk for Superior Court Judge Michael Wolverton. She holds a BA from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, and earned her JD from the New England School of Law, where she held a merit scholarship, served as president of the Public Interest Law Association, and served as Executive Managing Literary Editor for the Journal of Criminal and Civil Confinement.
Created by statute in 2004, the Office of Administrative Hearings is Alaska's independent hearing panel for most types of executive branch agency administrative hearings, as well as hearings on decisions by other governmental bodies. OAH handles more than 85 different types of cases, with disputes ranging in value from $40 to $800 million, and with roughly 1,500 new cases filed annually. (Past decisions are browsable by case type under the Decisions tab, above).
OAH's administrative law judges conduct prehearing and hearing proceedings to hear and resolve disputes. The nature and scope of these proceedings vary by case type. In most types of cases, the OAH judge prepares a proposed decision for the final executive branch decisionmaker, such as a commissioner, board, or commission. In some other cases, OAH functions as the final administrative decisionmaker. In either instance, the end product is a final agency decision that can be appealed to Superior Court.
Whether adjudicating public benefits disputes for self-represented litigants or multimillion-dollar business disputes, OAH strives to deliver high-quality adjudication services that ensure fair hearings conducted in a timely, efficient, and cost-effective manner.
Introduction to the Hearing Process
A hearing before OAH begins with a hearing request to the agency whose decision is being challenged. That agency then sends a case referral to OAH.
Once OAH receives the hearing request from the referring agency, the parties receive a Notice of Assignment, identifying the administrative law judge assigned to hear the case, as well as the specific statutes and/or regulations that govern the proceeding. OAH staff will also send you a notice scheduling either the hearing itself, or a case planning conference, depending on the type of case.
Certain types of cases - generally, cases concerning Medicaid eligibility and benefits - may be automatically eligible to participate in OAH's optional prehearing mediation process, to see whether the dispute can be resolved without a hearing. In those cases, the parties will also receive a notice of mediation session. In other cases, mediation may be available if requested by both parties.
Statutes and Regulations
- OAH's Statute (AS 44.64)
- OAH's Regulations:
- DHSS hearing regulations for fast-track hearings:
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