A California federal judge has approved a settlement in a class action that accused American Honda Motor Co. Inc. of refusing to cover the cost of repairs for defective brake pads in certain Civic vehicles. The automaker agreed to reimburse out-of-pocket expenses incurred during the necessary repairs. In an order on June 8, U.S. District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller gave final approval to the settlement. It was alleged that Honda Civic vehicles manufactured between 2006 and 2011 have front brake pads that can wear out prematurely and require replacement every 7,500 to 15,000 miles, as opposed to the average 30,000 mile life expectancy of a brake pad.
Under the settlement, Honda has agreed to reimburse the out-of-pocket expenses incurred by the 1,688,886 class members to repair their vehicles. The agreement covers 100 percent of the average $115 brake pad replacement costs up to 7,500 miles, 50 percent up to 15,000 miles and 25 percent up to 20,000 miles, according to the order. The automaker will pay more than $850,000 in attorneys’ fees and expenses under the settlement. The three lead Plaintiffs will also receive awards of $2,500 each.
Lead Plaintiffs Stacie Zakskorn and Rachelle Schreiber filed suit in October 2011, claiming that the automaker knew its Civic vehicles contained the defective brake system, but refused to cover the costs of repair, even though the parts were covered by the vehicles’ limited warranty. The complaint said that Honda didn’t inform consumers about the faulty brake system — purportedly creating a safety hazard, since the defective parts can lead to auto accidents.
It was alleged that as a result of Honda’s failure to pay for repair costs, consumers were forced to spend hundreds of their own dollars to remedy the issue. A second suit against Honda, filed in November 2011, alleging the same claims was consolidated by the court.
The suits include claims for violations of California’s consumer protection and unfair business practices laws, as well as breach of implied warranty under the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act and breach of written warranty under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act. Judge Mueller granted preliminary approval to the settlement in May in an order that also preliminarily certified the class of all residents of the U.S., Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam who own or lease a 2006-2011 Honda Civic with rear drum brakes.
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