Nathan A. Friedman, 80, of Cherry Hill, a longtime civil trial plaintiff lawyer who handled various high-profile personal-injury cases in South Jersey, died of complications from a long-term illness on Wednesday, Dec. 29, at his home.
Mr. Friedman's success in the courtroom was said to be directly tied to his acting experience as a young adult.
"He did it with such passion," his son, Joshua, said about his case presentations to juries. "He would take his acting to the jury like how he would take acting to the stage."
Mr. Friedman was able to go head-to-head with big corporations and government offices and make a case for people who might have not had a voice otherwise.
"He was able to convince juries that he was entitled to whatever he was asking for," his son said.
After his former boss, prominent lawyer Daniel B. Toll, died of brain injuries sustained at the 1983 Super Bowl, Mr. Friedman took the National Football League and Contemporary Security Corp. of Pasadena to court, claiming both entities were responsible for negligence in the death.
Mr. Friedman won a $400,000 verdict in that 1985 case, his family said.
Mr. Friedman also persuaded the New Jersey Supreme Court in 1992 to rule that public employees may be sued because of what they as individuals do on the job.
Mr. Friedman was born in Philadelphia and raised in Camden, graduating from Woodrow Wilson High School in 1948.
After graduating from Temple University in 1953, Mr. Friedman pursued an acting career and had several roles in the Philadelphia-produced live western show called Action in the Afternoon. He also had parts in a couple of movies, including the 1959 4-D Man.
However, upon his father's insistence, Mr. Friedman left acting to pursue a career in law.
He received his law degree from Temple School of Law in 1961 and clerked for about a year before joining the South Jersey law firm of Daniel Toll. Mr. Friedman eventually became a partner in the firm before starting his own firm in the late 1970s.
In 1975, Mr. Friedman made big news by reaching a $1 million verdict in the case of a 16-year-old Maple Shade High School student, Rosemarie Gilborges, who was seriously injured in a car accident going back to school from a school-sponsored trip.
A year later, Mr. Friedman joined the ranks of the Inner Circle of Advocates, an elite group of fewer than 100 lawyers across the country who had won at least a $1 million verdict and had completed 50 personal-injury cases.
After divorcing his first wife, Sue, Mr. Friedman married Bonnie Zaroff in 1979.
Mr. Friedman had his own South Jersey-based law firm for more than 30 years and, in the last few years, served as of counsel to Brown & Connery L.L.P. in Westmont.
In addition to his wife, Mr. Friedman is survived by daughters Jill, Amy, Debra Brodeur, Jill Levitt, and Jacki Ginsberg; sons Saul and Joshua; seven grandchildren; and a sister. He is also survived by his first wife, Sue Friedman.
Relatives and friends may call at 12:45 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 2, at Platt Memorial Chapels, 2001 Berlin Rd., Cherry Hill, where a funeral service will follow at 1:30 p.m.
Interment will be in Crescent Memorial Park, Pennsauken.