2006 Honda Civic HybridEnlarge Photo
The long-running saga of Heather Peters versus Honda Motor Company has apparently come to an end after a Los Angeles Superior Court Judge overturned a previously awarded small claims judgement in Peters’ favor.
Peters had been successful in pursuing her case against Honda, with a lesser court awarding the former attorney $9,867.19 in damages last February.
The California woman claimed that her 2006 Honda Civic Hybrid never achieved anywhere near the 50 mpg fuel economy claimed by Honda, achieving a high of just 42 mpg.
Following a software update designed to prolong battery life, Peters’ recorded mileage plummeted to “below” 30 mpg, not at all what buyers expect from a hybrid.
Rather than settling for a coupon offering a discount on a new Honda model (part of a class-action lawsuit settlement from Honda over the Civic Hybrid mileage issue), Peters decided to fight the automaker in small claims court.
When the court decided in Peters’ favor, Honda immediately filed an appeal. As the Los Angeles Times reports, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Dudley W. Gray II heard the case and ultimately sided with Honda.
In Judge Gray’s words, “Federal regulations control the fuel-economy ratings posted on vehicles and advertising claims related to those fuel-economy ratings.” In other words, blame the EPA, not Honda.
As for Peters, she was disappointed with the ruling, which can’t be appealed further, but is happy that her efforts were “effective to get the news out.”
Effective indeed. In the wake of Peters’ case, some 36 other Civic Hybrid owners filed suit against Honda in small claims court as well. While Honda has won 18 of the cases, it still faces trial in at least 17 more.
Heather Peters’ drama may be over, but that may not yet be the case for Honda.