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Fuel economy information is displayed on a window of a new 2003 Honda Civic Hybrid in the showroom of O'Hare Honda September 13, 2002 in Des Plaines, Illinois.
Lawyers representing the American Honda Motor Company successfully convinced Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Dudley W. Gray to overturn a highly publicized small-claims court ruling that in February awarded Honda Civic Hybrid owner Heather Peters $9,867 as compensation for her Civic’s gas mileage underperformance.
Peters sued the car maker after opting out of a class-action lawsuit against Honda backed by other Civic Hybrid owners making similar claims. In response to Honda’s appeal, Peters stated, “Honda is no longer the great brand that it used to be. They used to go the extra mile in customer service, now they go the extra mile fighting customers in court.”
Regardless, Judge Gray found that Honda complied with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regulations. The court decision is now final as California's small-claims court rules do not allow for further appeals.
What does this ruling mean for consumers and for large corporate entities? Are the EPA and the FTC adequately protecting consumers and properly regulating the auto industry?
Heather Peters, plaintiff from Los Angeles who won a small claims court case against American Honda Motor Company; Honda appealed the decision; her case was just overruled
Stan Goldman, professor, criminal law and criminal procedure, Loyola Law School