From The Legal Files: Toyota and Honda – Car Pro News

Toyota Motor Corp. won tentative dismissal of some claims by plaintiffs who said their vehicles lost value because of the automaker’s recalls for sudden, unintended acceleration-related issues.
U.S. District Judge James Selna in Santa Ana, Calif., in a tentative order, agreed with Toyota that the New York and Florida class representatives in the consolidated lawsuits can’t bring claims under their states’ laws if they didn’t allege their cars experienced sudden, unintended acceleration.

The judge disagreed with Toyota and said New York law didn’t preclude the claims of a plaintiff who said she traded in her Prius for a reduced amount because of the alleged defect even if she didn’t claim that her car manifested the defect.

Selna will make a final decision on Toyota’s request to dismiss the claims after a hearing on April 23.

“The highest court of the state New York would be likely to find actionable the claims of a plaintiff who realizes a measurable loss on the resale or trade-in of a vehicle with an defect that may be fairly attributed to that defect,” Selna said.

American Honda Motor Co. is seeking to have a judge overturn a small claims court decision that awarded nearly $10,000 to a woman who sued the automaker over the fuel economy of her Honda Civic Hybrid, the Associated Press reported.

Heather Peters, 46, of Los Angeles, was awarded $9,867 in February after filing a $10,000 suit against Honda in small-claims court in Torrance, Calif., where American Honda is headquartered.

Honda appealed the award after 1,700 other hybrid owners opted out of a class-action settlement that gave about 200,000 owners of 2003 to 2009 Civics between $100 and $200 cash plus a rebate for a new Civic to settle claims that the car’s fuel economy was falsely advertised.

Superior Court Judge Timothy Taylor approved the class-action settlement last month that included $8.5 million in plaintiff attorney fees.

The settlement gained national attention in January when Peters claimed her 2006 Civic Hybrid failed to live up to fuel economy expectations and won with the court ruling that the carmaker had negligently misled Peters when it contended that her hybrid would get as many as 50 mpg.

Peters, a lawyer, opted out of the class-action settlement reached in September 2011 so she could try to claim a larger damage award. The original class-action suit in 2007 claimed that the Civic’s fuel economy fell short.

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