This is why some people didn't want to settle with Honda. Heather Peters, who took Honda to small claims court in Torrance, CA recently over claims of the Civic Hybrid's fuel economy, has been awarded $9,867.19 in damages. That's almost the maximum allowed in small claims court ($10,000) and is a decision that might have a big impact on future class-action litigation.
A refresher on the situation: In 2007, John True sued Honda because, he said, the automaker made misleading claims about the fuel economy of the Civic Hybrid. In 2009, after it became a class-action lawsuit, Honda settled with Civic hybrid drivers, giving them either up to $1,000 off the purchase of a new Honda or a $100 check. This didn't sit right with Peters, so she sued.
The court commissioner ruled that Honda "negligently misled" Peters with claims that Civic Hybrid could get 50 miles per gallon, the LA Times writes. In a statement, Peters said:
I am absolutely thrilled at the reports that I won, even though I won't see the actual judgment until it comes in the mail. It's a victory for Civic Hybrid owners everywhere! Sometimes big justice comes in small packages.
Honda says it plans to appeal, and this may all just be the beginning. Peters is encouraging other Civic Hybrid owners who are disappointed in their real-world mileage to file suits against the automaker in small claims courts across the country.