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Honda wins appeal in small-claims hybrid lawsuit

The fuel economy information for a Honda Civic hybrid is shown in this undated file photo.

May 9, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Honda has won an appeal of a highly publicized small-claims court award given to a woman who sued over poor hybrid mileage.

Thousands of Civic hybrid owners who were disappointed with sub-par mileage filed a class-action lawsuit against Honda, but a proposed settlement by Honda would have only given owners $100 to $200 each and a $1,000 credit on purchase of a new car.

Heather Peters opted out of the class-action suit and fought the automaker in small-claims court, where she was awarded $9,867 for the extra money spent on fuel, the cost of the car's battery and the decrease in the car's value because of the problems.

Her suit was a unique run around the class-action process, which she said offered too little to Honda owners and too much to lawyers.

But on Wednesday, Superior Court Judge Dudley W. Gray overturned the small-claims judgement, saying most owners of that type of car achieve fuel economy close to federal EPA estimates.

Peters argued that Honda knew it had problems with the hybrid cars but continued to advertise them as an alternative to high gas prices and a way to help the environment.

But Gray said the automaker's advertising slogans "are not specific promises of anything."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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