- Founding Partner
Robert S. Kelner, a founding partner of Kelner & Kelner with his father Joseph Kelner, graduated from Columbia Law School in 1971. Since that time, he has practiced as a personal injury and medical malpractice lawyer in New York.
Robert Kelner has obtained approximately 300 verdicts and settlements of $1 million or more. He achieved a verdict of over $29 million, which with interest totaled over $40 million, in a trucking accident case involving wrongful death. He has also achieved verdicts of $36 million against the Transit Authority and $23 million in a motorcycle accident. Some of his accomplishments include winning a $10.4 million jury verdict against the City of New York when only $1.5 million was offered as a settlement. He also recently secured an out-of-court settlement of over $17 million in a wrongful death case, and two additional settlements of $9 million each in personal injury cases. He recently tried a case with Joshua Kelner that resulted in a $19.1 million verdict against the Transit Authority for a man whose leg got stuck in the gap between the train and the platform, and was dragged when the train moved forward. He also obtained a $9 million settlement for a sanitation worker killed in a motor vehicle accident. This is believed to be the highest wrongful death recovery for a uniformed worker in New York.
Robert Kelner's legal career has included certain very high profile cases. Early in his career, he served as one of the trial lawyers representing the students shot at Kent State University. Much later, he represented the estate of Maurice Gibb of the Bee Gees in a wrongful death case, and Mariane Pearl, the wife of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl who was murdered in Pakistan. Mr. Kelner also successfully defended Liza Minnelli in a suit brought by her husband, David Gest, that alleged assault. The case was dismissed.
Robert Kelner is an active writer and speaker in the areas of personal injury law and trial practice. For many years, he has been the co-author of the "Trial Practice" column in the New York Law Journal. He has lectured at nearly every major bar association in New York and also at Princeton University and Columbia Law School. He is chairman of the Civil Trial Practice Institute of the New York County Lawyers Association, and its Civil Trial Practice course. He has also been chairman of the New York State Bar Association's "Ethics in Litigation" program and the New York County Lawyers "Rock Stars of the Legal Profession" program. He lectures frequently at bar associations, and has been chairman of the New York County Lawyers Civil Trial Practice program for over 10 years. The New York Times wrote a "Public Lives" column about him and his representation of victims. He has appeared on CNN, MSNBC, ABC, NBC, CBS, NPR and BBC. He was interviewed on a major Texas radio station about pro bono work done by our firm for victims of terrorism. He has been quoted in the New York Times, New York Post, New York Daily News and Newsday. He is a graduate of Columbia Law School, where he lectures frequently on the subject of tort law and trial practice. He has also lectured at Princeton University and Touro College School of Health Science.
His career has been characterized by a deep commitment to protecting the interests of injury victims.
Areas of Practice
- Personal Injury
- Medical Malpractice
- Construction Accidents
- Construction Site Labor Law
- Products Liability
- Trucking Accidents
- Motor Vehicle Accidents
- Premises Liability
- Wrongful Death
- New York, 1972
- U.S. District Court Southern District of New York, 1972
- U.S. District Court Eastern District of New York, 1972
- Columbia Law School, New York, New York
- J.D. - 1971
- Co-Author, “Trial Practice” Column, The New York Law Journal
- Lecturer, Tort Law and Trial Practice, Columbia Law School
- Lecturer, Princeton University
- Lecturer, Touro College School of Health Science
Honors and Awards
- Top 100 New York - Metro Super Lawyers
Professional Associations and Memberships
- New York County Lawyers Association, Torts Department, Chair, 2015 to 2017
- New York County Lawyers Association, Civil Trial Practice Institute, Chairman
- New York State Bar Association, Ethics in Litigation Program, Chairman
- New York County Lawyers Association, Rock Stars of the Legal Profession Program, Chairman