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Consumer Attorneys Hagens Berman Laud States' Decision To Weigh Inadequacy Of Honda Civic Hybrid Settlement

SEATTLE, Feb. 16, 2012 PRNewswire/ -- Today, attorneys representing owners of 2006-2008 Honda (NYSE:HMC) Civic Hybrids applauded five states that have asked the judge overseeing a proposed class-action settlement to grant the states more time to weigh the fairness of the agreement. Many class members have already objected that the proposed settlement is wholly inadequate in addressing the safety concerns and economic losses associated with the vehicles.

The proposed settlement would pay consumers less than 3 percent of the expected cost to replace the faulty hybrid battery, court papers state, while attorneys pushing for the settlement, in turn, have asked the court for nearly $8.5 million in fees.

Those opposing the settlement are upset that the agreement would pay each owner just $100 and provide a coupon good only for the purchase of a new Honda or Acura, instead of requiring or compensating for the repair of the defective hybrid system, which costs at least $3,500 per auto.

"This settlement simply provides no meaningful benefit to thousands of Civic Hybrid owners whose cars are equipped with defective hybrid drive systems," said Thomas Loeser, a lawyer at consumer-rights law firm Hagens Berman and attorney for a group of Honda owners objecting to the settlement. "If I were a 2006-2008 Civic Hybrid owner, I would be angry with this proposed settlement, and would complain bitterly to anyone who would listen."

According to court filings, the class action was originally filed to represent those who were experiencing lower miles-per-gallon efficiency than Honda was touting in its advertising.

During the case, a second and more serious claim appeared; prematurely deteriorating Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) batteries, which are the core of the hybrid system. These defective IMA batteries cause severe, erratic power reductions, which render the Civic Hybrid unreliable and unsafe, in addition to causing severe reductions in fuel efficiency, court documents state.

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