Honda North America Inc. won final approval last month in California federal court of its settlement of a class action alleging some Honda Accord side air bags deploy inadvertently. The automaker agreed to make repairs worth more than $6 million on thousands of affected vehicles. Named Plaintiffs Heather Gutierrez and Connie Kaupa alleged that Honda Accord coupes and sedans from model years 2003, 2004 and 2008 had a mechanical defect that caused their side air bags to deploy during normal driving.
At a fairness hearing in Pasadena, Ohio U.S. District Judge Jack Zouhary, sitting by designation in California’s Central District, granted final approval to the settlement. The settlement requires Honda to provide free repairs for about 1,800 class members whose cars’ air bags deployed but who never sought repairs. The repairs cost owners $3,000 to $5,000, according to the Plaintiffs’ motion for settlement approval, putting the value to consumers at $6 million at a minimum. Honda has also agreed to provide repairs for Accord owners whose vehicles’ airbags inadvertently deploy in the next two years. A small number of class members will be reimbursed for repairs they paid for out of pocket, as well.
The suit was filed in California federal court in August 2009, alleging the Accord models contained a common, inherent defect causing side air bags to deploy during normal driving. Honda was accused of refusing to take corrective action despite being aware of the defect, including failing to notify owners and telling customers there was nothing wrong with the side air bag system. The suit is unrelated to other litigation being brought against Honda and other carmakers over the Takata Inc. air bag defect.
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