Janika is a founding member of the firm. She received a B.A. in Psychology from Louisiana State University in 1998. In 2001, she received her Juris Doctor, cum laude, from Southern University Law Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Janika also studied theater at a performing arts school and minored in Speech Communications at Louisiana State University. She received intensive training in presentation and communication skills, which gave her the ability to quickly identify an audience’s key communication characteristics and adapt to best achieve her intended goal.
Janika obtains successful results for her clients by bringing her academic training in the art of public speaking and communication to her legal work. Among other areas, she has successfully used her persuasive skills in trial, arbitration, and mediation.
Janika’s trial experience includes serving as lead or co-lead trial counsel in both state and federal actions involving toxic tort claims, product liability actions, environmental suits, employment matters, and commercial disputes.
Janika supervises and coordinates high-stakes litigation, as well as several large litigation dockets in Louisiana and Mississippi. In addition to her trial skills, she brings strong analytical and writing skills to the table along with a focused, goal-oriented approach to achieving her clients’ goals.
Janika is a lifetime resident of New Orleans, Louisiana, and has strong ties to the community. She is committed to service and participates in a variety of political and community-related projects.
Too numerous to list, Janika has worked tirelessly to secure winning outcomes for her clients via trial, motion practice, oral argument, mediation, settlement negotiation and the strategic management of every aspect of litigation. An unrelenting desire to succeed is in her DNA! Here are a few examples:
In 2022, Janika Polk, Skylar Rudin, Deb Kuchler, Marcus Hunter, and Michael Harrison, defended a supermajor oil company in a commercial dispute involving two breach of contract claims, wherein the company that brought its claims sought approximately $30 million in damages. The matter was submitted to Arbitration where a three day remote hearing was held, which included witnesses from Asia and South America. The parties also submitted post-hearing briefing and presented post-hearing oral argument. The 3-person Arbitration Panel reached a unanimous decision in favor of the Firm’s client finding that the company that brought its claims would take nothing.
In 2018, as lead trial counsel, Janika—along with Deb Kuchler, Dawn Tezino, Skylar Rudin, and Marcus Hunter—represented a major oil company in a commercial dispute through which it sought to recover the costs of shutting down four wells in the Gulf of Mexico. The case was tried over eight days in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. After less than three hours of deliberation, the jury reached a unanimous verdict awarding their client $61 million. See Shell Offshore Inc. v. ENI Petroleum U.S. LLC, No. 16-15537 (E.D. La. Sep. 20, 2017).
In 2016, Janika successfully obtained summary judgment on behalf of her client, an automobile manufacturer, in a dispute with one of its dealers. See Daimler Trucks N. Am. LLC v. McComb Diesel, Inc., No. 15-30 (S.D. Miss. Jan. 13, 2016).
In 2012, Janika secured the reversal of an Orleans Parish district court ruling, which quashed her client’s subpoena to the Johns Manville Asbestos Settlement Trust. In what was the first Louisiana appellate opinion on the issue, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal found that the defendants were entitled to discover a plaintiff’s submissions to an asbestos bankruptcy trust and that such submissions are not protected by any recognized state-law privilege. See Oddo v. Asbestos Corporation, Ltd., 2012-415 (La. App. 4 Cir. 5/18/12); 90 So.3d 450.
In 2006, Janika defended a multinational chemical company in a class-action lawsuit brought in St. John the Baptist Parish by plaintiffs who claimed that they had been exposed to toxic fumes released by a rotary kiln incinerator. After the conclusion of a bench trial, the court ruled in the defendant’s favor, finding that the plaintiffs did not meet their burden of proving causation. See Johnson v. E.I. DuPont deNemours & Co., Inc., 08-628 (La. App. 5 Cir. 1/13/09); 7 So.3d 734.
In 2006, Janika secured a judgment via arbitration in favor of her client, an automobile manufacturer, in a dispute with one of its dealers. See Ford Motor Company v. Bernie Woods, Sr., No: 04-1733 (W.D. La. Jun. 6, 2006).
PUBLICATIONS, PRESENTATIONS, PANELS
Janika D. Polk et al., Discovering Thoughts Underneath: Addressing Unconscious Bias in the Workplace and Legal Profession (Sept. 17, 2020).
Janika D. Polk et al., Mastering Your Two Languages: The Art of Non-Verbal Communication (Jan. 30, 2018).
Janika D. Polk, Energy Litigation 101, Center for American and International Law (Nov. 7, 2018).
Janika D. Polk, The Satisfied Women’s Series: How to Get Everything You Want Out of Life, Louisiana’s 3rd Annual Women’s Conference (Sept. 23, 2011).
Janika D. Polk, Arguing Against Exposure Pathways and Defeating the Causal Nexus to Injury, American Conference Institute’s Chemical Products Liability and Environmental Litigation Conference, Chicago, IL, (Apr. 27, 2011).
Janika D. Polk, National Bar Association’s Commercial Law Section’s Corporate Counsel Conference, New Orleans, LA (2006) (presentation regarding business interruption litigation and other insurance disputes related to Hurricane Katrina).