Saturday, 17 March 2012

Mpg case settlement of Honda Civic receives tentative OK

A U.S. Superior Court judge in California tentatively approved a settlement that will give Honda Civic hybrid owners up to $200 cash to settle claims that the car's fuel economy was falsely advertised.
The owners of about 200,000 Honda Civics from model years 2003 through 2009 will receive between $100 and $200, plus a rebate toward the purchase of a new Honda, according to the Associated Press.
Superior Court Judge Timothy Taylor also approved $8.5 million in plaintiff attorney fees under the ruling issued Thursday, the AP reported.
"No doubt plaintiffs would have loved to have gotten more," Taylor wrote in the tentative ruling. "Honda undoubtedly has many arrows left in its quiver, and certainly would have preferred to pay nothing."
The class-action settlement gained national attention in January when Heather Peters, 46, of Los Angeles, filed a $10,000 suit against Honda in small-claims court in Torrance, Calif., where American Honda is headquartered.
Peters claimed her 2006 Civic Hybrid failed to live up to gasoline mileage expectations and won $9,867 with the court ruling that the carmaker had negligently misled Peters when it contended that her hybrid would get as much as 50 miles per gallon. Honda filed an appeal in that case.
Peters opted out of the class-action settlement reached in September 2011 so she could try to claim a larger damage award. The original class-action suit in 2007 claimed that the Civic's mpg fell short, similar to the way Peters described her case.
Honda has acknowledged that the battery on 2006-08 Civic Hybrids "may deteriorate and eventually fail" earlier than expected, causing the cars to rely on the gasoline engine more, compromising the fuel economy.
Taylor scheduled a hearing today to give opponents a last chance to voice objections.
Peters said she plans to ask for a continuance in the settlement at today's hearing, and that the judge overlooked some evidence on safety issues.
American Honda can back out of the agreement if more than 1,500 owners opt out, but the automaker has said the settlement is a "very good resolution."Automobile News

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