Small Claims Court Not For Lemon Law

Heather Peters sued Honda in Small Claims Court in Los Angeles earlier this year for allegedly false claims regarding the fuel mileage on the 2006 Honda Civic Hybrid model. In her suit, Peters claimed that advertisements stated the 2006 Honda Civic Hybrid could achieve up to 50 miles per gallon and her reliance upon these claims made her purchase the vehicle. However, she was only able to achieve roughly 30 miles per gallon in her 2006 Honda Civic Hybrid. Peters opted out of a Honda class action settlement that awarded each plaintiff a settlement of “up to $200.00” and sued on her own in Small Claims Court. In her suit, Peters claimed that she was never able to achieve 50 miles per gallon and Small Claims Court Commissioner Douglas Carnahan agreed with her, awarding her nearly $10,000.00 in damages.

However, on Tuesday, May 8, 2012, Superior Court Judge Dudley W. Gray, II, reversed the Small Claims Court’s decision, and not only does Peters not receive the $9,867.00 from Honda, now she has to pay $75.00 for their court costs! Judge Gray held that the fuel economy ratings posted on new vehicle window stickers are based upon federal regulations and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates and they do not take into account variations such as how people drive, the condition of their vehicles, or the condition of the roads upon which they drive, all of which will affect fuel economy.

If you believe that you have a lemon vehicle, do not try to sue the auto manufacturer on your own. An extremely small number of consumers are able to obtain a repurchase or a replacement from an automobile manufacturer without adequate legal representation. If you believe that you have a lemon, please feel free to call us at (855) 59-LEMON or check out our website at We are here to help and we do not charge our clients anything for our services.

Peters v. American Honda Motor Co, Superior Court of California, Los Angeles County, No. 11S02156.