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  • William Maley
    William Maley

    A Honda Owner Takes The Company To Court, Minus The Lawyers

    William Maley

    Editor/Reporter - CheersamdGears.com

    December 28, 2011

    Heather Peters is angry with Honda. Her 2006 Civic Hybrid doesn't get its claimed EPA fuel economy and she isn't satisfied with a proposed class-action lawsuit settlement that would give lawyers $8.5 million while Civic owners would get as little as $100 and rebate coupons for the purchase of a new vehicle.

    She could take Honda to court. But with Honda's army of lawyers, she wouldn't have a chance.

    But, Peters has found a way to get a chance and keep Honda's lawyers out of the proceedings. On January 3 she'll take her case to Small Claims Court in Torrance, California and ask for the maximum compensation ($10,000) to compensate her for spending much more on gasoline than expected.

    You might be wondering why going to Small Claims Court helps Peters avoids the army of lawyers. Well, California Small Claims Court law states parties must represent themselves and cannot use an attorney. That means Peters can deal with Honda directly.

    Peters isn't stopping here though. She has started a website called DontSettleWithHonda.org and an Twitter account, DontSettleWithHonda giving owners a link to state-by-state instructions for filing these lawsuits.

    "I want them to know they can file in Small Claims Court and that it is not so scary," Peters told the LA Times.

    Some people are calling Peters’ plan a game-changer, not only for the automotive industry but for all large corporations in the U.S.

    “This could create a lot of problems in the industry,” said Aaron Jacoby, a defense attorney at the Arent Fox law firm in Los Angeles who also heads the automotive industry group.

    Not every state affords the same luxury as California's Small Claims Courts. But the efforts by Peters could prove costly and troublesome to automakers it it succeeds.

    Source: LA Times

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    Unfortunately and unlike this woman, many people try to win big. That is where Lawyers from both sides become fat cats.

    Aiming small with consistency provides more devastating results than aiming big with high chance of failures.

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    I don't know enough about the specifics of the complaints, dealing with defective batteries that cause the hybrid engine to use more fuel, to feel sympathetic to the plaintiff or not. However, Honda doesn't exactly have a great track record dealing with faulty drivetrain components.

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