Mr. Hurtgen began his affiliation with the firm in 2011 as an Of Counsel, after a highly distinguished career both in the private sector for nearly 40 years (most recently, as a partner with Morgan Lewis & Bockius) and in leadership positions in government for seven years. During his career, Mr. Hurtgen has handled every facet of labor and employment law for private sector and public sector employers.
Mr. Hurtgen’s government service included serving as a Member of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) from 1997 to 2001 and as NLRB Chairman from 2001 to 2002. Following his NLRB service. Mr. Hurtgen served as the Director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) from 2002 until the end of 2004. Mr. Hurtgen is the only person to have ever served on both the NLRB and as Director of FMCS.
After leaving government service, Mr. Hurtgen returned to private practice in 2005. His practice today focuses on advising senior management on labor matters, particularly with respect to complex cases involving collective bargaining negotiations and settlements before the NLRB and novel or complex issues under the National Labor Relations Act. His practice today also focuses on helping senior management evaluate the likelihood of obtaining favorable settlements and favorable adjudicated outcomes of employment litigation matters before federal and state courts.
In his role as FMCS Director, Mr. Hurtgen was involved in mediating settlements in numerous nationally significant negotiations, including the highly publicized West Coast ports labor-management dispute of 2002, which put approximately $300 billion worth of economic activity at risk. Mr. Hurtgen also mediated the 2004 negotiations between the United Food and Commercial Workers and representatives of Southern California's supermarket chains, returning 60,000 workers to their jobs after 141 days, thereby ending the longest strike in the history of the nation’s retail grocery industry. Mr. Hurtgen also successfully supervised telecommunications industry mediations between SBC Communications Inc. and the Communications Workers of America (CWA) affecting 100,000 workers nationally and oversaw negotiations involving Verizon Communications, Inc., the CWA, and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, affecting more than 78,000 workers in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions.
In addition to having enjoyed an outstanding career on the labor law side, Mr. Hurtgen has had an extensive practice on the employment law side as well, including having first chaired 25 jury trials. One of Mr. Hurtgen’s most significant trials was the landmark case of Faragher vs. Boca Raton, which addressed the issue of employer liability for the unauthorized conduct of supervisors. Mr. Hurtgen tried the case in both the Federal District Court of Southern Florida and in the Federal Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. Mr. Hurtgen would have argued the case before the United States Supreme Court but was precluded from doing so because the Supreme Court granted certiorari on the very same day the Senate confirmed Mr. Hurtgen’s nomination by President Clinton to the NLRB.
Mr. Hurtgen was first exposed to labor law during law school through his work as a summer associate at a major law firm. With guidance and encouragement that summer from a prominent labor partner who mentored him, Mr. Hurtgen rather quickly embraced labor law as the type of people-oriented practice that appealed to him and fit his image of how a lawyer could effectively serve the profession.
In recent years, Mr. Hurtgen has undertaken, on a highly selective basis, certain matters that have held particular appeal for him, primarily involving significant and complex traditional labor matters. Mr. Hurtgen affiliated with Curley, Hessinger & Johnsrud in 2011 as an Of Counsel as a result of a professional relationship Mr. Hurtgen developed with Mike Curley from their days working together as Morgan Lewis partners. Mr. Hurtgen also affiliated with the firm because he embraces the firm’s concept of the practice of law as a profession, its commitment to the highest quality of lawyering and client service and its emphasis on placing the interests and needs of firm clients above the personal financial interests of the firm.
Mr. Hurtgen’s interests outside of law revolve around a myriad of outdoor activities, including hiking (which includes having successfully reached the summit of Mt. Kiliminjaro), backpacking, fly fishing, salmon fishing and horseback riding.