You have been included on this email as an interested journalist regarding the small claims trial that occurred today in Torrance, CA. Please find our statement below regarding the case, which is still pending judgement from the commissioner.
In the six years since Ms. Peters first purchased her vehicle in 2006, she never contacted Honda to complain or express any type of concern with her vehicles fuel economy until sending a letter in late November, 2011 and then filing suit shortly thereafter. Once the suit was filed, Honda immediately offered to inspect her vehicle and work with her on the findings, but those offers were rejected by Ms. Peters.
We do not believe Ms. Peters was deceived. The window sticker that was attached to her vehicle (as required by federal law) clearly indicated that her mileage would vary depending on driving conditions, options, vehicle condition and other factors. The evidence today demonstrated that the fuel estimates that were used for the Civic Hybrid were generated in strict compliance with federal regulations promulgated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, and Honda used those estimates in all of its advertising as it was required to do by federal law.
PETERS RESPONSE - "Honda Spokesman, Chris Martin, ignored all 20 of my e-mails. Honda ignored my offer to inspect my car before trial and lied to Court about it."
I did not contact Honda corporate prior to my letter dated November 18, 2011 because on numerous visits to Honda dealers I was told that Honda had a corporate policy of refusing to replace hybrid batteries until the dashboard warning light comes on. They advised me that Honda was well aware of the problem and had taken a hard line on the issue putting dealers who wanted to help their customers between a rock and a hard place.
The statement by Hondas Spokesman, Chris Martin, that " Honda immediately offered to inspect her vehicle and work with her on the findings, but those offers were rejected by Ms. Peters." is absolutely false. Honda received my letter on November 19 offering three settlement options and Honda did absolutely nothing. As of today, January 5th, no one from Honda corporate has ever contacted me. I have personally e-mailed Chris Martin 20 times, beginning on December 4th (a month before he issued this statement) and he has never responded to a single one of my e-mails. I have given him my home telephone number and neither he, nor anyone else at Honda corporate, has ever called.
I have received a single phone call concerning my case from the lead lawyer for Honda in the five pending class action cases - Mark Mester, the Global Chair of the Consumer Class Action Practice Group at Latham & Watkins in Chicago. He called me the first week in December and asked to have my car inspected by his litigation consultant, Neil Schmidt, but said that Mr. Schmidt was very busy and could not get to it until late February so he asked me to continue my trial.
I initially declined because I knew that he was just trying to delay my case beyond the February 11th deadline for other class members to opt out of the pending settlement. However, a couple of days later on December 12th, when Mr. Mester returned from vacation, I sent him the attached e-mail offering to make the car available at my dealership any time before our trial date, even though Honda was not entitled to discovery in small claims court (a point the judge agreed with when he later denied their motion to inspect). Mester responded by saying Honda had already made two motions in my case and Mr. Schmidt couldn't inspect my car before the trial (Honda lost both of those motions and three others).
Even though Honda repeatedly tried to continue my trial based on Mr. Schmidts unavailability, Mr. Schmidt miraculously appeared at trial on January 3rd. I guess he had some time available in his busy schedule after all! E-mail Chris Martin and let him know what you think: Chris_Martin@ahm.honda.com