Honda asks judge to overturn Civic fuel-economy ruling
American Honda Motor Co. is seeking to have a judge overturn a small claims court decision that awarded nearly $10,000 to a woman who sued the automaker over the fuel economy of her Honda Civic Hybrid, the Associated Press reported.
Heather Peters, 46, of Los Angeles, was awarded $9,867 in February after filing a $10,000 suit against Honda in small-claims court in Torrance, Calif., where American Honda is headquartered.
Honda appealed the award after 1,700 other hybrid owners opted out of a class-action settlement that gave about 200,000 owners of 2003 to 2009 Civics between $100 and $200 cash plus a rebate for a new Civic to settle claims that the car's fuel economy was falsely advertised, according to the AP.
Superior Court Judge Timothy Taylor approved the class-action settlement last month that included $8.5 million in plaintiff attorney fees.
The settlement gained national attention in January when Peters claimed her 2006 Civic Hybrid failed to live up to fuel economy expectations and won with the court ruling that the carmaker had negligently misled Peters when it contended that her hybrid would get as many as 50 mpg.
Peters, a lawyer, 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 fuel economy fell short.
Honda's appeal of the small claims verdict returned to court Thursday before a superior court judge who is hearing testimony from both sides, the AP reported.
Honda has legal representation and Peters is presenting evidence she has discovered since she received her award, the AP said. She testified in the first part of the hearing April 13 with lawyers for Honda questioning her, the AP reported. This is the last chance for review of the case because small claims rules prevent it from being appealed further.
Last month the AP reported that American Honda can back out of the class-action agreement if more than 1,500 owners opt out.
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