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California Woman Aims to Sink Honda Class Action Settlement

Heather Peters fought and won in small claims court.

by on Mar.16, 2012

Heather Peters with her 2006 Honda Civic Hybrid prior to last month's small claims trial..

After taking on Honda and winning a judgment over the inflated mileage claims for her Honda Civic Hybrid, a Southern California woman now hopes to derail a class action suit that would provide other owners just a fraction of the compensation she was awarded in small claims court.

Honda has been under fire for advertising significantly better fuel economy than it allegedly knew motorists would get with the Civic Hybrid sold between 2003 and 2009.  A proposed settlement covering 200,000 owners is now waiting for a final decision by Superior Court Judge Timothy Peters.  Until recently, it appeared likely the agreement would be accepted, but Peters shook things up last month when she decided to go it alone using the small claims process.

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The former corporate attorney – one of 1,700 Honda hybrid who opted out of the class action process — was awarded $9,867.  By comparison, the proposed settlement would provide owners $100 to $200 and a coupon good for a discount if they returned to buy another Honda.

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More Headaches for Honda Over Hybrid Mileage Gap

Judge delays class action settlement while opposition mounts.

by on Feb.17, 2012

A judge delayed a decision on a class action lawsuit involving older Honda Civic Hybrids.

Honda’s hybrid mileage headaches may soon get a lot worse as a California judge considers whether to accept, reject or revise a class action settlement in a case filed by owners frustrated that their Civic Hybrid models failed to get nearly the mileage the maker original claimed.

The attorneys-general from five states, including California and Texas, have asked for more time to consider a proposed settlement that would provide owners with as little as $100 in cash – and a discount on another Honda – while plaintiffs’ attorneys would pocket millions.

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The delay was sought in the wake of a verdict in a separate California case in which Heather Peters was awarded $9,867 to cover higher fuel costs and a lower trade-in value on her 2006 Civic Hybrid.  A former corporate attorney, Peters took her case to small claims to protest the proposed class action settlement – and to show other owners there were alternatives to the proposed settlement.

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Woman Wins Honda Hybrid Mileage Suit

Unclear if verdict will set a precedent - or survive an appeal.

by on Feb.02, 2012

Heather Peters with her 2006 Honda Civic Hybrid prior to last month's small claims trial..

A California woman angered by the relatively poor mileage delivered by her Honda hybrid has won a small claims lawsuit awarding her nearly $10,000 in damages.

Heather Peters quickly declared it a “victory for Honda Civic owners everywhere,” after a Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioner agreed that the maker had known that owners of the 2006 Civic Hybrid would not get the mileage promised.

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But victory is anything but certain, Honda indicating it isn’t ready to accept the verdict rendered Wednesday and will appeal.

A former corporate attorney, Peters opted out of a proposed class action settlement that she felt did little but enrich the trial lawyers handling that suit, choosing instead to fight her own battle.  She has said she hopes her victory will inspire other owners to take Honda on directly through the small claims process, though it is unclear how many will be willing to go that route.

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