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Judge Sides With Honda in Small Claims Verdict Appeal

Court says Honda justified using optimistic EPA numbers.

by on May.09, 2012

Heather Peters with her 2006 Honda Civic Hybrid. A Superior Court overturned her small claims victory.

A California Superior Court Judge has reversed the high-profile verdict in a small claims case filed by a woman who claimed her Honda Civic Hybrid delivered significantly worse than the maker’s advertising claimed it would.

The original case, filed by Heather Peters, won a judgment of nearly $10,000 to cover her increased fuel bills and reduced trade-in value. Peters had decided to fight Honda on her own in Small Claims Court rather than participating in a class action settlement she argued would not adequately compensate owners of 2006 to 2008 Civic Hybrids.

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“We are never satisfied when a customer is anything less than satisfied with one of our products, and the company does not relish the necessity to defend the truth in opposition to any of our customers,” said a statement from American Honda Motor Co.

But the maker also said it “is pleased with the Court’s decision which affirms that Honda was truthful in its advertising of the fuel economy potential of the 2006 Honda Civic Hybrid. We are thankful for the support we received from the many satisfied Civic Hybrid owners who expressed their support throughout the legal process.”

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Honda Appeals Hybrid Owner’s Small Claims Win

Maker aiming to overcome small claims verdict - even after settling class action suit.

by on Apr.20, 2012

Heather Peters with her 2006 Honda Civic Hybrid prior to her original small claims trial.

Honda has filed an appeal of the small claim’s verdict that awarded nearly $10,000 to a California woman who had gone to court claiming her Civic Hybrid delivered significantly lower mileage than the maker had claimed.

One-time corporate attorney Heather Peters had taken the small claims route after opting out of a class action settlement that she felt enriched plaintiff attorneys, minimized the costs to Honda and left little for the actual owners of the first-generation Civic Hybrid.

“Two hundred dollars and a coupon? That was worth fighting,” she previously said.

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A California judge awarded Peters $9,867 to cover the additional fuel used in her Civic Hybrid, along with the anticipated lower trade in value.  By comparison, the class action settlement more recently approved by another California court will see about 200,000 owners receive between $100 and $200 in cash each, along with a coupon of up to $1,500 towards the purchase of another Honda.

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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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