Dennis J. Morikawa represents and counsels clients in Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) related disputes, as well as issues related to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), and Title VII. He provides guidance and litigation support in complex cases involving employee whistleblower claims under Section 11(c) of OSHA and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act; and helps US and international clients develop and implement internal safety and health compliance policies and strategic plans.
Dennis has experience in virtually all OSHA regions throughout the United States, and in all states covered by the OSHA State Plan. He represents clients in OSHA matters before administrative law judges, the OSHA Review Commission, US Courts of Appeals, and in state court. He has also testified before the Subcommittee on Workforce Protections of the House Committee on Education and Labor.
Dennis’s clients come from the chemical, healthcare, construction, refining, meatpacking, supermarket, steel, retail, manufacturing, aviation, shipbuilding, and shipping industries. He also works with distilleries, trucking companies, breweries, restaurants, battery makers, quarries, and railroads. He advises clients on proposed OSHA rulemaking in ergonomics, lead, longshoring, steel erection, cadmium, hexavalent chromium, and recordkeeping.
In addition to representing enterprises in OSHA inspections, including the agency’s National Emphasis Program on oil refineries, Dennis litigates OSHA and MSHA citations. A number of his cases have resulted in significant changes in OSHA law, including Secretary of Labor v. Akzo Nobel Chemicals Inc., in which the company successfully litigated against OSHA with respect to the issue of what constitutes a “covered process” under the agency’s Process Safety Management Standard.
He speaks frequently before client groups, trade associations, and the American Bar Association on a range of OSHA-related topics. He was designated by the Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA to serve as a US delegate in the 2007 US/EU International Conference on Safety at Work, held in Cascais, Portugal; and has represented companies and trade associations in connection with rulemaking related to proposed OSHA standards.
In 1991, Dennis successfully argued before the US Supreme Court in Consolidated Rail Corporation v. Railway Labor Executives’ Association, with respect to the implementation of drug testing programs as part of medical examinations in the railroad industry. In 1996, he worked with the International Olympic Committee and the Atlanta Organizing Committee, with respect to athlete drug testing at the Centennial Olympics in Atlanta, Ga.
Dennis has spent the entirety of his legal career at Morgan Lewis. He joined the firm as an Associate in 1974, and then became Partner in 1981. In 2015 he retired from the Partnership and new serves as Senior Counsel practicing in matters arising under the Occupational Safety and Health Act.
Denison University, 1968, B.A.
Syracuse University College of Law, 1974, J.D.
U.S. Supreme Court
Awards and Affiliations
Member, Practice Group of the Year, Labor & Employment, Law360 (2017)
Recipient, Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon from the Government of Japan
Lawyer of the Year, Labor Law–Management, The Best Lawyers in America (2017)
Recognized, Employment Law – Management, Philadelphia; Labor Law – Management, Philadelphia; Litigation – Labor and Employment, Philadelphia, The Best Lawyers in America (2007–2013, 2017–2019)
Recognized, Pennsylvania Super Lawyers (2007–2016)
Fellow, College of Labor and Employment Lawyers
Fellow, International Society of Barristers
Honorary Consul General of Japan in Philadelphia (2000–present)
Past Management Co-Chair of the Occupational Safety and Health Law Committee of the American Bar Association
Member, Board of Directors, Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia
Past Member, Board of Governors, Japanese American National Museum
Member, Board of Directors, Japanese House and Garden
Founding Member and Past President of the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of the Delaware Valley
Recipient, Philadelphia Business Journal’s 2014 Minority Business Leaders Award
Recipient, National Asian Pacific American Bar Association's 2006 “Trailblazers” Award
President, Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia (2015–present)