Daubert in the Ninth Circuit - Amicus Brief by David Faigman

City of Pomona v SQM North America

Professor David Faigman just submitted an amicus brief to the Ninth Circuit providing a Daubert analysis that was confirmed by JuriLytics' peer reviewers and mainstream science. The case, City of Pomona v. SQM North America,  involves the contamination of groundwater with perchlorate which the city argues was sourced from fertilizer imported by SQM North America from the Atacama Desert. In 2011, City's expert Neil Sturchio was excluded by the district court from testifying about the source of groundwater contamination. The Ninth Circuit ultimately reversed the exclusion and remanded for trial, stating that the faults found by the district court go to the weight of the testimony.

JuriLytics first became interested in City of Pomona v. SQM North America late 2014 when SQM North America petitioned the Supreme Court to resolve an apparent split in the circuits regarding the application of Daubert after the Ninth Circuit's ruling. On its own, JuriLytics commissioned independent peer review of Dr. Sturchio's expert opinions. Our neutral peer reviewers found, post-hoc, that the methods utilized by Sturchio were state-of-the-art and accepted by the geochemistry community (see the full case study here). 

After an eventual trial and adverse verdict this past summer, the City of Pomona has appealed again. This time, the main issues revolve around the improper admission of defendant's groundwater contamination expert. Professor Faigman's brief describes the irrelevance and unreliability of his testimony, among other things, and confirms his analysis with input from the scientific community via a second set of JuriLytics peer reviews of Dr. Laton's opinions.