From The New York Times on October 10, 2021:
Leon Kellner, a former litigator in New York and Washington, D.C., U.S. Attorney and native of New York City died October 5th, 2021 at his home in Coral Gables, FL, after a battle with cancer. The son of Jewish refugees, and a graduate of New York's Stuyvesant High School, SUNY Buffalo and Harvard Law School, Kellner began his legal career at Chadbourne, Parke, Whiteside and Wolf in New York, and distinguished himself as a litigator who would be assigned significant cases, including North American Rockwell's victory in obtaining the rights to build the engines for the space shuttle. He later joined Anderson, Kill, Olick and Oshinsky, which became the most famous law firm in the country representing policy holders against insurance companies in asbestos and environmental cases. In 1982, he started his most memorable assignment as Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida. He spent eight years in Miami with his wife Ellen, whom he lovingly called 'Doll.' Kellner at first led the Civil Division and was later appointed by President Reagan to be the U.S. Attorney, when Miami hosted the busiest federal prosecutor's office in the country. He directed investigations of foreign officials, indicted the President of Panama, and famously brought down the leaders of the world's largest cocaine rings. The highlights of Kellner's career in public service made news around the world. He and his longtime friend and Harvard roommate, Stanley Marcus, now a Senior Judge on the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, came to Miami at the city's most troubled time. In 1981, Time Magazine wrote that ""An epidemic of violent crime, a plague of illicit drugs and a tidal wave of refugees have slammed into South Florida with the destructive power of a hurricane."" Reagan selected Marcus as the new U.S. Attorney in 1982, bringing elite prosecutors from around the country, and Kellner, a veteran litigator, to help fight the coming drug war. The U.S. Attorney's office faced the tough issues head on, quelling prison riots, rounding up the corrupt 'River Cops' and prosecuting drug dealers from as far away as Columbia and Panama. When Kellner heard that the Reagan-Bush administration was contemplating a settlement with these drug dealers, he made a special trip to Washington to persuade the administration not to do so. But Kellner was more than a prosecutor. He was a champion for people and causes that needed a forceful and illuminating voice. He brought logic and the truth to light with his legal arguments, once calling an Indian chief to explain to a judge why the deer needed to be culled in the Everglades in order to save the herd from starvation. Kellner did more than give a thundering speech; he made a passionate argument. He served on the executive board of the Coral Gables Neighbors Association, using his rhetorical skills to fight for the preservation of landmark architecture in the community. He also felt it was important to be a mentor to members of the U.S. Attorney's office, many of whom have risen to senior roles in the legal profession. His lifelong passion was golf. He travelled across the U.S. and Europe with his friends to play the links, from Sawgrass to Scotland. Returning with his wife to Washington, D.C., after eight years as a federal prosecutor, Kellner resumed litigation work on complex insurance and environmental cases at Anderson, Kill, Olick and Oshinsky; at Dickstein, Shapiro, Morin and Oshinsky; and at Perkins Coie. Before retiring in 2016, Kellner had spent three years focused on a large case against the insurers of the Tennessee Valley Authority's fossil fuel plant, which caused a toxic spill and more than $1 billion in environmental damage to the Tennessee River in 2008. He led a team of young attorneys at Perkins Coie at the end of his career, focusing his energy on mentoring them for the roles they would take on in the field of environmental and toxic tort cases. Kellner also served in the U.S. Army Reserves, and is predeceased by his parents, Simon and Fanny Kellner, who escaped Nazi Germany. Kellner is survived by his beloved wife, Ellen, two daughters and four grandchildren. He is also survived by his brother, Dr. Melvyn Kellner and three nieces. The family plans a private service and asked that donations in his name be made to the Miami Cancer Institute at Baptist Health, South Florida.