Woman Sues Car-Maker in Small Claims Court
Got a gripe with the company that made your car? Are you mad enough to sue them? Forget those big class action lawsuits that only line the lawyers' pockets. A California woman is showing us a better way. She's taken Honda to small claims court.
Heather Peters wants Honda to pay for not delivering the high mileage she was promised when she bought her 2006 Honda Civic Hybrid.
Peters says her car never came close to getting the promised 50 miles per gallon, and as its battery deteriorated, it was getting only 30 mpg. She wants Honda to pay for her trouble and the extra money she spent on gas.
Peters opted out of a series of class-action lawsuits filed on behalf of Honda hybrid owners when she learned the proposed settlements would give owners no more than $200 cash each, plus a small rebate on a new Honda. The lawyers would make $8.5 million.
So Peters took a different tack. She blazed her own trail into court with a small claims suit that could cost Honda up to $10,000. If other Honda Hybrid claimants follow her lead, she estimates Honda could be forced to pay as much as $2 billion in damages.
Peters stands a very good chance of winning because lawyers are not allowed in small claims court. Peters will state her case and someone from Honda who is not a lawyer will give the company's position.
In most cases the judge rules almost immediately. No line no waiting in small claims court. You can see the line move.
Peters has launched a website urging other Honda owners to follow her lead and take the small claims route.