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University of Delaware Staff

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  • John Polk J.D.,

    University of Delaware
    Smith 305
    Newark, DE 19716
    302 831-1236

    Biography

    ​Beginning in 1976, John J. Polk served as a deputy attorney general for theState of Delaware for eighteen years as a prosecutor and civil litigator. Duringseven of those years, he was the supervising attorney for major civil litigation. Asthe senior trial attorney for the Civil Division of the Delaware Department of Justice(“the Attorney General’s office”), Mr. Polk was responsible statewide for litigationboth on behalf of and against the state and its agencies, officials, and employees.He personally litigated a wide variety of litigation including antitrust, civil rights,labor, personal injury, securities violations, wrongful death and wrongful dischargematters in state and federal courts. Among the significant cases for which he waslead counsel are:

    Baltimore & O.R.R. v. Oberly, 606 F.Supp. 1340 (D.Del. 1985), aff'd, 782 F.2d 29 (3dCir.), vacated and remanded, 479 U.S. 980 (1986), on remand, 837 F.2d 109 (3d Cir.1989).

    • representing the Delaware Attorney General and the Secretary of the DelawareDepartment of Natural Resources in federal litigation seeking to enjoinenforcement of Delaware noise regulations under the Supremacy and CommerceClauses of the federal constitution.
    • http://www.allcourtdata.com/law/case/the-baltimore-and-ohio-railroad-company-dba-one-of-the-chessie-system/cD3Bdjf

    Wheeler v. Sullivan, 599 F.Supp. 630 (D.Del. 1984).

    • representing the Commissioner and officials of the Delaware Department ofCorrection against a claim under 42 U.S.C. §1983 alleging the defendants hadfailed to protect the plaintiff from being sodomized by another inmate in adormitory housing unit at the Delaware Correctional Center.
    • http://www.allcourtdata.com/law/case/wheeler-v-sullivan/czbI5l6H?page=1

    West v. Keve, 541 F.Supp. 534 (D.Del. 1982), aff'd, 721 F.2d 91 (3d Cir. 1983).

    • representing officials of the Delaware Department of Correction against a claimunder 42 U.S.C. §1983 alleging the defendants had subjected the plaintiff inmateto cruel and unusual punishment by delaying authorization for an elective surgicalprocedure.
    • http://www.plainsite.org/dockets/1zx4srcau/delaware-district-court/west-v-keve/page-2/table-citedby

    Heine v. Receiving Area Personnel, 711 F.Supp. 178 (D.Del. 1988).

    • secured summary judgment for the Commissioner and officials of the DelawareDepartment of Correction on claims filed against them under 42 U.S.C. §1983alleging they failed to protect the plaintiff from being sodomized by another inmateat Delaware’s Multi-Purpose Criminal Justice Facility.
    • http://www.plainsite.org/dockets/20i5o7hrs/delaware-district-court/heine-v-receiving-area-personnel/2

    State of Del. v. Bennett, 697 F.Supp. 1366 (D.Del. 1989), aff'd, 919 F.2d 137 (1990).

    • filed a federal lawsuit to enjoin the Secretary of the United States Department ofEducation from depriving Delaware’s Guaranteed Student Loan fundapproximately $3.4 million.
    • http://www.leagle.com/decision/19882063697FSupp1366_11863/STATE%20OF%20DEL.%20v.%20BENNETT

    Barron v. Kleinman, 550 A.2d 324 (Del. 1988).

    • seeking to reverse in the Delaware Supreme Court a lower court decision againstthe Chief Magistrate of the State of Delaware on a wrongful discharge claim by a“holdover” justice of the peace whose reappointment had been rejected by theDelaware State Senate.
    • http://www.leagle.com/decision/1988874550A2d324_1873/BARRON%20v.%20KLEINMAN

    In his supervisory capacity, Mr. Polk advised and managed other deputy attorneysgeneral handling similar matters.

    Following his tenure at the Attorney General’s Office, Mr. Polk served forapproximately two years as the First Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Delaware. In that capacity, he prosecuted federal criminal cases and representedthe United States and its agencies in civil litigation. He also advised the UnitedStates Attorney on policy matters and supervised both the professional andadministrative staff. The United States Attorney for the District of Delaware appointed Mr. Polk to serve, from 1994 to 1996, on the Civil Rights Task Forceoperating within the United States Attorney’s Office.

    In 1999 Mr. Polk became the Chief Worker’s Compensation Hearing Officerfor the State of Delaware. In this administrative law position, he presided overhearings and adjudicated workers’ compensation claims. He authored numerouscase decisions resolving claims for, and petitions for the termination of, workers’compensation benefits filed with the Delaware Industrial Accident Board.

    Copies of several of those decisions can be found at:https://www.dropbox.com/sh/tc8uy653bnloch2/AACQ6z9IKYyTVSXDMJB6-UCFa?dl=0

    From 2005 to 2010, Mr. Polk worked as Staff Attorney for the Justice of thePeace Court of the State of Delaware. In that capacity, he advised the Chief3Magistrate on policy matters and drafted policy directives to be issued by the ChiefMagistrate. He also organized, implemented, and participated in educationalprograms for Delaware justices of the peace.

    In 2010, Mr. Polk retired from the active practice of law.

    In addition to the various attorney positions in which he served throughout hiscareer, Mr. Polk also volunteered for several ancillary professional programs. In 1987, for example, he was an assistant bar examiner for the Delaware Board of BarExaminers. In this capacity, he drafted and graded one of the questions for the1987 bar exam.

    During the years 1994 and 1995, Mr. Polk served as a mentor and instructorin the Supplemental Bar Review program. With the goal of increasing diversity inthe Delaware bar, this program enlists experienced bar members to provide test-taking assistance, mental preparation skills, and general support to minorityregistrants for the Delaware bar exam. The program operates as a supplement toany commercial, substantive bar review course. For a complete description, see:http://delawarelaw.widener.edu/files/resources/mjl2016coursedescriptionform.pdf

    Mr. Polk is admitted to practice law by the state Supreme Courts in bothDelaware and Pennsylvania.

    In addition, Mr. Polk was admitted to the bars of theSupreme Court of the United States, the United States Court of Appeals for the ThirdCircuit, and the United States District Court for the District of Delaware. Havingretired from the practice of law, his current bar status in both Delaware andPennsylvania is inactive.Mr. Polk was graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1972 with aB.A. in Sociology. He received his J.D. degree from the Delaware Law School in1975.Since 1990 Mr. Polk has taught courses in criminal law, criminal evidence,prisoners rights, and civil liability in criminal justice as an adjunct faculty memberin the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice at the University of Delaware.4He has also taught both undergraduate and graduate courses in prisoner’s rights atWest Chester University.

 

 

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  • Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice
  • University of Delaware
  • 18 Amstel Avenue, Newark DE 19716, USA
  • Sociology - 322 Smith Hall
  • Phone: 302-831-2581 Fax: 302-831-2607
  • Criminal Justice - 325 Smith Hall
  • Phone: 302-831-1236 Fax: 302-831-0688