Honda Loses in Small Claims Court Gas Mileage Suit

Honda Loses in Small Claims Court Gas Mileage Suit

Several months ago, we got wind of a somewhat unusual lawsuit between American Honda Motor Co and irate 2006 Civic Hybrid owner Heather Peters.

Peters, a former LA attorney, believed that Honda negligently misled Civic Hybrid owners with fuel economy claims of 50 miles per gallon (the best mileage she claims she ever achieved was 42 mpg and following a software update, this dropped to around 30 mpg). When she got wind, that, in terms of a settlement for the issue, Honda was prepared to pay around $100 in rebate coupons towards the purchase of a new vehicle for Civic Hybrid customers, while it’s trial lawyers earned some $8.5 million, she filed suit.

Given her background, Peters chose to take the case to Small Claims Court, knowing full well that under California law, Honda would be unable to bring in a team of highly paid lawyers to defend its position.

Now, we’ve heard that Peters successfully won her court case and has been awarded damages of $9,867.19 (the maximum amount allowed in small claims court is $10,000). The outcome of this case could have a major impact on class action suits and cases handled through Small Claims Court, since it illustrates that well-informed plaintiffs have every chance of being vindicated in their disputes against large corporations.

However, despite winning her case, there are those who believe Peters might have a hard time collecting the money; Honda says it disagrees with the ruling that it negligently misled Peters over fuel economy claims and is now taking the case to the LA County Superior Court, where its highly paid legal team are permitted to challenge the Small Claims verdict.

Nonetheless, Peters says she isn’t done and wants other Civic Hybrid owners to file similar claims to her own, believing that, by facing multiple Small Claims suits in the state of California, Honda will have a multi-front legal battle on its hands, rendering it difficult if not impossible to mount a successful counter attack. Peters also says she’ll reactivate her state law license so she can represent other Civic Hybrid owners in court.

[Source: LA Times]

  • Chad

    She deserved to win. Honda committed the sin of “False Advertisement”. Fraud isn’t funny. There are people buying cars BECAUSE of the posted MPG numbers and the consumer deserves to be told the truth.

  • Danny Tse

    People who don’t read that giant sticker on the window should be spanked. No wonder this lady was a former lawyer….what a bottom feeding leech.

  • Jim

    I think mostly every hybrid is crap. If i bought a hybrid i would want to get at least 70 MPG or higher. IT’S A HYBRID!!!! I get 33 MPG in my 2012 civic SI 50/50 highway/city driving. The new volkswagon get’s 1400 a tank which would be something around 60 MPG NOT A HYBRID. That is just my 2 cents. I’m glad to see that you won your lawsuit tho. Now you just need some other people to come forward to rep them.