States Won’t Oppose Honda Hybrid Settlement

March 1, 2012

News sources are reporting that five states that were given a deadline to oppose a class-action settlement between Honda Motor Co. and owners of its cars over fuel efficiency will not do so.

The states are California, Iowa, Massachusetts, Texas and Washington.

“We didn’t file any objection,” Dan Sytman, a spokesman for the Washington Attorney General said.

One reason Washington’s Attorney General didn’t file was their inability to provide any new argument or assist the court in making a decision.

“There were quite a few attorneys and non-attorneys who filed documents…and given the number of documents filed, we think the court should be well informed about the issues,” Sytman said, adding that “the fact that we have not filed anything doesn’t mean we approve or disapprove of the settlement.”

A spokesperson for the California Attorney General was not immediately avialable for comment.

The attorneys general for the five states had asked a judge for more time after Honda owner Heather Peters won $9,867 in a California small claims court last month. The judge granted a two-week extension until Feb. 29 for them to declare objections.

The money Peters was awarded was much more than the couple hundred dollars cash that the settlement offers.

American Honda Motor Co., the Japanese automaker’s U.S. subsidiary, has said that it believes the settlement was a “very good resolution.”

San Diego Superior Court Judge Timothy Taylor has scheduled a hearing March 16 to decide whether to accept the settlement.

Peters opted out of the class-action lawsuit so she could try to claim a larger damage award for the failure of her 2006 Honda Civic to deliver the 50 mpg that was promised.

The proposed class-action settlement would give aggrieved owners $100 to $200 each and a $1,000 credit toward the purchase of a new car. Legal fees in the class action would give trial lawyers $8 million.

Honda noted that the settlement includes rebates of up to $1,500 toward the purchase of a new car and a warranty extension on the battery. Some owners would be eligible to seek additional relief.

In small claims court, there are no attorneys’ fees, cases are decided quickly, and individual payments are far greater.

Topics California Washington

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