Business & Real Estate

Sacramento judge approves settlement for Honda Civic owners over prematurely worn brakes

Honda Civics are assembled at a plant in Greensburg, Ind. Owners complained about early brake wear.
Honda Civics are assembled at a plant in Greensburg, Ind. Owners complained about early brake wear. The Associated Press

A Sacramento federal judge has approved a nationwide class action settlement providing reimbursement to more than 14,000 Honda Civic owners for the cost of replacing front brakes that wore out too soon.

The lawsuit arose from the alleged design and/or manufacturing defects that require replacement of the front brake pads on Honda Civics made between 2006 and 2011 approximately every 7,500 to 15,000 miles, as opposed to the 30,000-mile life expectancy of a properly functioning braking system.

The plaintiffs’ class alleged that Honda had failed to repair the defect even when a vehicle’s brakes were still covered by a warranty.

The settlement provides 100 percent reimbursement of the average $115 brake pad replacement cost up to 7,500 miles, 50 percent up to 15,000 miles, and 25 percent up to 20,000 miles. The replacement must have been done within the warranty period and at an authorized Honda dealership.

The class is defined as all residents of the United States, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the U. S. Virgin Islands and Guam who currently own or lease, or previously owned or leased, a 2006-2011 Honda Civic distributed for sale or lease in those locations. Notices were sent in September and October to nearly 1.7 million potential class members who are current or former owners of 940,765 of the vehicles. As of Feb. 4, 14,095 claims had been received, and as of Jan. 2 eight objections and 418 opt-outs had been received.

In her detailed analysis and final approval filed Tuesday, U. S. District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller found that further litigation “would likely be complex, risky, lengthy, and expensive for both sides,” and those factors favor settlement.

Other factors found by her to favor settlement were Honda’s continued denial of liability and its assertion of several potentially persuasive defenses, and questions regarding the cause of the premature wear on the brake pads because an individual driver may affect the speed of the wear.

Still other factors pointed out by Mueller were that no objectors took advantage of their right to appear before her at the final fairness hearing, the “very small number of objections … and the low number of opt-outs.” She concluded that “the overall reaction of the class has been positive.”

Mueller found the settlement to be “fundamentally fair, adequate, and reasonable.”

She approved total fees of $808,254.51 and expenses of $41,745.49 for the five law firms that represented the class, and $2,500 each for the three individuals named in the lawsuit as representative plaintiffs, who assisted the class attorneys.

Denny Walsh: (916) 321-1189