When 2006 Honda Civic Hybrid owner Heather Peters took Honda to Small Claims Court for what she said was misleading and unachievable gas mileage claims, the world looked on with interest. 

Not everyone thought Peters would win. But when she did -- to the tune of nearly $10,000 in damages -- attorneys general in California and four other states were asked to decide if they should let planned class action lawsuits against Honda continue as proposed.

Now the attorneys general for California, Iowa, Massachusetts, Texas and Washington have agreed to let the class-action proceeding go ahead.

Unlike Peter’s small claims case, class-action lawsuits would only award claimants against Honda a maximum of around $200 in compensation. Meanwhile, the legal teams preparing the case stood to make upwards of $8 million.

Those against the class-action lawsuit -- including Peters -- had hoped that the attorneys general would step in, objecting to the disproportionate amounts of the attorney fees versus the settlements for the owners who actually suffered the problem.

2006 Honda Civic Hybrid

2006 Honda Civic Hybrid

“The (attorneys general) would certainly have sway with the court, but they would be adding their voice to a chorus that is already quite loud,” she told The Sacramento Bee, adding that she was disappointed with the decision. 

Peters’ hope is that those considering class action against Honda for inaccurate gas mileage figures will instead take their claims to the small claims court. 

To help them make that decision, Peters’ website, DontSettleWithHonda.org, lists small claims information for each U.S. state, along with details on the maximum claim allowed and whether attorneys are allowed to participate.


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