City of Pomona v. SQM North America Corp., No. 15-56062 (9th Cir. 2017)Annotate this Case
The City of Pomona appealed a jury judgment that SQM was not liable for causing perchlorate contamination in Pomona's water system. The Ninth Circuit held that the district court abused its discretion by limiting the testimony of one of Pomona's experts and failing to make sufficient findings before admitting the testimony of one of SQM's experts. In this case, the record demonstrated that the science of stable isotope analysis evolved significantly during this case's first journey through the appellate system. The panel explained that, by constraining Dr. Sturchio to his 2011 report, the district court abused its discretion. The panel further held that the district court's failure to make any findings regarding the reliability of Dr. Laton's testimony, despite Pomona's Daubert motion, was an abuse of discretion. Therefore, these errors, in combination, were prejudicial. Accordingly, the panel reversed the district court's judgment and remanded for a new trial.