Class-action suits in the automotive industry are nothing new. Neither is the notion that in those class-action suits, the only people that generally get any significant money are the lawyers. Such is the case in a pending class action against Honda over the fuel economy on some models of the Civic hybrid that allegedly get less fuel economy than promised.
One Civic hybrid owner has taken a different tact by opting out of the class action and instead taking Honda to small claims court seeking $10,000 to compensate her for fuel costs that were more than promised. The reason Heather Peters chose small claims court is because that venue would prohibit Honda from bringing out its high power legal team. It's helps Peters' cause that she was an attorney years ago.
Peters showed brochures from Honda touting fuel economy in the 50mpg range, and then showed photos of the dash on her car showing that the car never achieved fuel economy near that rating. Peters also said that a software fix that Honda offered to improve the economy made the car worse. Honda sent a technical specialist named Neil Schmidt to represent it in the case, and he called the claims Peters was making "ridiculous" and noted that Honda had to print those numbers and that independent testing is where the 50mpg figure came from. No decision has been made in the case yet. If Peters wins, Honda could appeal to another court where it could bring lawyers.
[via LA Times]