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In Memoriam: Joseph P. Hurley

Friday, February 21, 2014

In Memoriam

Joseph P. Hurley

November 24, 1942 - February 2, 2014

The United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of New York mourns the loss of our beloved colleague, Joe Hurley. Joe served our Court for 22 years, during 17 of them as Clerk of this Court, until his retirement in October, 2007. His career with this Court spanned three Chief Judges. Joe was highly regarded by all who worked with him, including clerk’s office personnel, the judges of this and other courts, members of the bar, his colleagues in court administration, and senior officials at the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts.

An adept administrator and manager, Joe possessed a remarkable ability to find creative solutions for many types of problems and to implement them with tact and diplomacy. His advice was often sought by employees and colleagues, as well as by attorneys and judges. His important contributions to this Court include his leadership in the implementation of many technological innovations, including electronic case filing, and his significant role in the project for reconstruction and restoration of the United States Post Office building, now the Conrad B. Duberstein Bankruptcy Courthouse. Joe was particularly committed to assisting members of the clerk’s office staff with career development. In recognition of this, at the time of his retirement, the staff training rooms in Brooklyn and Central Islip were named in his honor.

Joe’s advice and talents were also sought by bankruptcy and district courts throughout the country, as well as the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. During his long career with the federal courts, Joe was appointed to many national committees, including the Bankruptcy Clerks Advisory Group and the Court Administration Advisory Council. He was a two-time Chair of the Bankruptcy Noticing Working Group, which, under his leadership, made many important recommendations to improve noticing services delivered to the courts and to reduce costs. One such innovation was the modification of the Federal Rule of Bankruptcy Procedure 2002 to permit registration of a preferred address, allowing multiple notices to the same creditor in one envelope even where the notices were filed in different judicial districts and eliminating the requirement of electronic acknowledgement by a recipient to the sender of an electronic notice. These proposed rules were “fast-paced” to approval, as 12 months were shaved from the usual rule enactment period, in order to achieve millions of dollars in cost savings. Joe’s work in these areas reflected his leadership and his willingness to embrace change.

Above all, we remember Joe as a dear friend. His decency, generosity and compassion, which marked his leadership style, were apparent to all who knew him, and garnered him respect and affection wherever he went. He is sorely missed.