Group puts the brakes on Honda class action settlement

The SE Texas Record reports on Ted Frank's victory in an objection to a proposed Honda Motors settlement which would defraud thousands of consumers.

An otherwise dreary Monday in the nation's capital turned especially bright yesterday for noted legal reformer Ted Frank after learning he helped to keep nearly $3 million out of the pockets of trial lawyers – at least for now.

Frank, who runs the Washington-based Center for Class Action Fairness, had objected to a proposed settlement in a lawsuit against American Honda Motors Co. Inc. that alleged the car company defrauded thousands of consumers out of nearly $7,000 when they purchased the Honda Civic Hybrid instead of a conventional Honda Civic.

"These kinds of settlements are far too common," Frank told Legal Newsline on Tuesday, noting that class action settlements are supposed to provide meaningful relief to the class not just a fat check to trial lawyers pursing the case.

Under the rejected settlement, to be eligible class members would have had to "follow a contorted procedure to claim their coupons," Frank's motion to the court said. He noted that the settlement would have required coupon recipients to watch a fuel economy video of unknown length, even if they no longer owned a Civic Hybrid.

"This settlement recovers a pittance for the class, while plaintiffs' counsel is paid $2.95 million — in cash, not DVDs or rebates," Frank quipped in his motion to U.S. District Court Judge Virginia Phillips in the Central District of California, urging her to reject the settlement.

Read the full article at the SE Texas Record.