Heather Peters really, really doesn't want anyone to settle with Honda. Peters is the woman who went her own way earlier this year, suing Honda in small claims court in Torrance, CA instead of joining a class-action lawsuit against the automaker over allegations that the company promoted misleading fuel economy numbers for the Civic Hybrid, model years 2003 to 2009. She was recently awarded $9,867 in damages, significantly more than the $100-$200 the 200,000 Civic Hybrid owners involved in the class action suit are expected to net (their lawyers stand to make $8.5 million). Because of that perceived unfairness, Peters is going in front of Superior Judge Timothy Taylor in San Diego today to ask that the class-action settlement be cancelled.

According to the Associated Press, Peters is using her small claims winnings – which Honda said it will appeal – to prove that the settlement is unfair to the Civic Hybrid owners that had thus far agreed to the deal. Around 1,700 owners decided not to take part in the settlement and there is reason to believe Taylor is at least slightly sympathetic to their cause. He recently extended the deadline for state attorneys general – who called the original settlement deal unfair – to respond to Peters' winnings.

The original Civic Hybrid class action case arose out of the claims of John True, who sued Honda in 2007 because, he said, the automaker misled him about the car's fuel economy. When we interviewed him back in 2007, who knew the turns this story would take?

*Update: It appears that extension mentioned above is not indicative of any leanings either way. In fact, in the judge's tentative rulings, he wrote:

[Peters'] reply papers are remarkable for their silence on the lack of success enjoyed by two other small claims plaintiffs. This leaves the court to conclude that Class Counsel are correct in asserting that Peters' demand for access to the fruits of discovery is actually a thinly disguised effort to use the discovered material to assist Peters in ―begin[ning] a cottage industry of representing consumers or selling her $15 CD to them.

The "two other" plaintiffs the judge mentions there are, as noted by Honda's Chris Martin, other Honda Civic Hybrid small claims cases that have taken place this year. There have been five total since January, and Honda has prevailed in all of them except the Peters case. A final ruling is still forthcoming.


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 22 Comments
      mlubao
      • 2 Years Ago
      I have a 2003 Honda. Indeed I did get 54mpg driving from LAX to Palm Springs. I was in no hurry so I sorta tail gaited trucks using thier "draft" going 50mph. In real life, I get around 45mpg. My driving habits have changed dramatically, thing like when I see I wont make a traffic light or have to stop at a sign, I actually take my foot off the gas and drift to a dead stop. As far as saving money, heck, I travel from Malibu to Newport Beach once a month for golf. Before my Honda, it took 3-4 hours on the 405 all of it sitting and stop and go. When I got my sticker to HOV lane, my driving time was cut to 70 minutes. If, counting gas savings, and MY TIME using the HOV lanes, I certainly MADE money off my car. I still have it, I love it.
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      Hazdaz
      • 2 Years Ago
      Class-Action suits are a goddamn joke. The people that were actually wronged make a few pennies on the dollar, while the lawyers pocket huge chunks of money. I have only been following the Heather Peters story a little, but she is totally right in trying to stop this class-action suit. More people should be doing what she did and take these companies to court.
      canuckcharlie
      • 2 Years Ago
      i wish i got a settlement for everything i bought that didn't live up to their advertised specs... but then again, sometimes you just have to be the bigger person
      Papi L-Gee
      • 2 Years Ago
      I guess YMMV doesn't hold up in a court of law....
      Basil Exposition
      • 2 Years Ago
      She's turning into quite the thorn in Honda's side. Good for her, from what I understand of the situation, the owners deserve more than a couple hundred dollars and a worthless coupon. If it weren't for people like this willing to invest the tremendous amount of time and money necessary to take on goliath, these companies would get away with whatever they wanted.
      evannever
      • 2 Years Ago
      This whole thing has "litigious society" written all over it.
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        • 2 Years Ago
        [blocked]
      montegod7ss
      • 2 Years Ago
      200,000 cars, $10k each. That would be $2Billion for Honda to cough up, sounds about right.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @montegod7ss
        [blocked]
      BG
      • 2 Years Ago
      Good for Heather. I am always glad to see a feisty lady stand up to a bloated bureaucratic organization, especially when they are trying to stiff her and their other customers.
      ammca66564
      • 2 Years Ago
      Hey, plaintiffs' lawyers have yacht payments too.
      Jason Allen
      • 2 Years Ago
      What about "your results may vary" is so hard to understand? I am pretty sure Honda and EPA weren't promising the exceptional mileage but the salesman and dealership were. I have very little sympathy UNTIL I hear about the reflash of the ECU and the supposed change in mileage that was (part of) the result. I think the win will be overturned because the judges will be most swayed by the disclaimers all manufacturers use UNLESS the reflash issue is found to be a fact. For that reflash, Honda would owe BIG imo. Ruining mileage to lengthen battery lifespan without the owners permission or knowledge would be a gross overstep that would deserve a big punative judgement for all the car owners. This may become the biggest, most obvious proof of Hondas' having lost all of their hard-earned good reputation. If they did that in the reflash I think Honda should owe more than anyone has spoken about so far, imo. I'd demand all payment back for the time after the reflash up to the full repayment of priciple, virtually every penny paid to Honda.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Jason Allen
        [blocked]
    • Load More Comments
    Advertisement
    2015 Honda Civic Hybrid
    MSRP: $24,735 - $24,735
    2014 Honda Civic Hybrid
    MSRP: $24,635 - $24,635
    2013 Honda Civic Hybrid
    MSRP: $24,360 - $24,360