Alumna helps to win record-setting settlement in age discrimination case

Emily Derstine Friesen ’07, an attorney with Console Mattiacci Law, and her co-counsel secured the largest verdict ever obtained by an individual plaintiff in an age discrimination suit. (Photo courtesy of Drexel University)

Emily Derstine Friesen ’07, an attorney with Console Mattiacci Law LLC, and her co-counsel secured the largest verdict ever obtained by an individual plaintiff in an age discrimination suit.

On Jan. 26, the U.S. District Court in Camden, New Jersey, awarded Robert Braden $520,000 in losses and $520,000 in liquidated damages.

Braden, 66, was laid off by Lockheed Martin after approximately 29 years of employment.

The jury ruled that in seeking to replace older employees with younger workers, Lockheed Martin had discriminated against Braden.

Braden was awarded the $520,000 in losses he sought, as well as $520,000 in liquidated damages to which he was entitled under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. Additionally, the jury added $50 million in punitive damages.

“The jury sent a loud and clear message to corporate America: no company is too big to follow the civil rights laws of this amazing country of ours,” said Stephen G. Console, a founding partner of Console Mattiacci Law, in a press release. “This is a verdict that should make every employee in this country proud and happy.”

Derstine Friesen graduated from EMU in 2007 with a degree in justice, peace and conflict studies. She attended Drexel University Thomas R. Kline School of Law, where she was editor of the Drexel Law Review in 2015-16. Among her honors were the Dean’s Award for Exceptional Achievement in Law School, Faculty Award for Outstanding Achievement in Legal Ethics and Faculty Award for Contributions to the Intellectual Life of Law School.

She was also selected as a Peggy Browning Fund Fellow, which provides a stipend for a ten-week summer fellowship in labor law, “advancing the cause of workers’ rights by working for labor unions, worker centers, labor-related not-for-profit organizations, union-side law firms and other nonprofit organizations.”

Derstine Friesen earned her J.D. degree in 2016. She is a member of the National Association of Women Lawyers, the Philadelphia and Pennsylvania bar associations and the National Employment Lawyers Association.

Console Mattiacci Law, LLC is an employment rights law firm with offices in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Moorestown, New Jersey. It was founded in 1990. The firm counsels whistleblower-employees who have been retaliated against and individuals who have been victimized by illegal employment discrimination and retaliation, including sex, race, religion, disability and age discrimination and sexual harassment at work.