Back in Court: Honda Civic Hybrid MPG Settlement is Not Enough for Peters

Heather Peters is back in a California court because she wants more money—for other Honda Civic Hybrid owners, that is. Peters is trying to sink the class-action settlement that would award other owners just a fraction of her nearly $10,000 reward she received last month.

The Detroit News says Peters is back in court before Superior Court Judge Timothy Taylor, who will make the final decision whether to accept the class-action settlement. The proposed settlement between Honda and about 200,000 owners of the Honda Civic Hybrid, ranging from model years 2003-2009, calls for them to be awarded between $100 to $200, plus a rebate toward the purchase of a new Honda vehicle. Peters argues the settlement is unfair, especially when weighing it against the $8.5 million payout to trial lawyers.

"It is appalling that a class action lawsuit on behalf of the people will result in a $200 rebate ... when lawyers will receive over $8 million. Where is the equity in that?" wrote Honda owner Gregory De Mattia in a court filing.

This ongoing battle between Honda and unhappy Civic Hybrid owners sparked a fire when Peters, then a former corporate attorney, opted out of the class-action settlement and took the case to small claims court, where she won a $9867 reward. Since then, she has been encouraging more opposition, and has even renewed her license to practice law after a 10-year break.

Peters has said before, “I am just trying to give people a tool kit that shows they have options besides capitulating for $100 or going out and hiring an expensive attorney.” However hard she intends to continue fighting, Honda has revealed its plans to appeal her reward. Judge Taylor is expected to make his decision today.

Source: The Detroit News

Why the hostility around her status of being a former corporate attorney? If you read the story, Peters hadn't practiced law in 10 years, how long would she need to be out before the description of former fits? I don't know if her motivation is greed or if she's merely seen where the law CAN be used to leverage useful solutions instead of always being used as a tool to increase profits--and neither does anyone else beside Peters herself. There are crooked lawyers, bankers, and CEOs. There are also crooked plumbers, waiters, and internet commenters. The are ample examples of crooked individuals who work in every profession and interest group. That doesn't mean that everyone who works or used to work in a profession is crooked. Guilt by association doesn't work no matter how many anecdotes one tells.
I do believe that that Honda Civic Hybrid owners should get something more (rebate, gas card, maintenance/repair credit). As for the lawyers ($8.5 Million...Really???), that is really unfair. It looks like Heather Peters, a "former" corporate attorney (go figure), wants to get a piece of that pie. I don't think she is in it for the "people". Sinking economy = back in the game for the $$$. For a good example of crooked lawyers, search "Pearson v. Chung".

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