Trenton, NJ – Governor Phil Murphy recently announced the appointment of Maria Del Valle Koch, Esq. as Director and Chief Judge of the Division of Workers’ Compensation within the New Jersey Department of Labor & Workforce Development. This appointment comes after previous Director Russell Wojtenko, Jr. was confirmed by the Senate as a Superior Court judge on May 26, 2022. Effective immediately, Del Valle Koch will lead the Division, continuing its mission of ensuring New Jersey workers receive fair and timely compensation benefits for work-related injuries.
“Director and Chief Judge Del Valle Koch’s vast history in the legal profession, particularly in Workers’ Compensation, made her an ideal fit for this role,” said Governor Murphy. “The fair treatment and safety of all of New Jersey’s employees is of the utmost importance to this administration. Under Director Del Valle Koch’s leadership, the Division of Workers’ Compensation is in good hands.”
The Division of Workers’ Compensation is comprised of two distinct program areas. The Workers’ Compensation Program provides a fair and impartial forum to mediate and if necessary, adjudicate disputes. The Office of Special Compensation Funds is responsible for three functions, including enforcing the law that requires employers to secure the necessary insurance coverage from commercial carriers or through self-insurance programs; providing temporary disability benefits and medical expenses to workers suffering from compensable injuries while working for uninsured employers; and providing benefit payments to workers who are already partially disabled who subsequently experience a work-related injury which together, rendering them totally disabled.
The Division is also actively involved in identifying non-compliant employers of Workers’ Compensation laws as well as levying and collecting penalties and restitution once such employers are identified.
“I am humbled and honored to be appointed Director and Chief Judge of the New Jersey Division of Workers’ Compensation,” said Division of Workers’ Compensation Director and Chief Judge Maria Del Valle Koch. “I will work tirelessly with my colleagues and staff to efficiently provide medical treatment and benefits to the injured workers of our great state.”
“I know Judge Koch and her record of accomplishments. She is one of the finest, most passionate and hardest-working Workers’ Compensation judges in the history of our courts,” said Senate President Scutari. “Her extraordinary work ethic and her dedication to public service make me extremely proud to support her appointment to this key position. The historical importance of Judge Koch being the first woman and the first Latina to hold this leadership position adds to its significance.”
In her previous role, Director Del Valle Koch was the Administrative Supervising Judge of Compensation for the New Jersey Department of Labor & Workforce Development’s Division of Workers’ Compensation Court, where she presided over Workers’ Compensation conferences, hearings, and trials for persons injured as a result of work-related accidents in the State of New Jersey.
Del Valle Koch holds a Bachelor of Arts in History from St. Peter’s College and a Juris Doctor from Seton Hall University Law School.
Source: NJ Governor’s Office