Kyla Asbury Oct. 2, 2014, 12:11pm

NEWARK, N.J. (Legal Newsline) - Class members and American Honda Motor Co. have agreed on a settlement in a class action alleging the Honda CR-V had a defective door lock mechanism that was concealed.

The court should preliminarily approve the settlement agreement because, among other things, it provides substantial benefits to settlement class members and includes a comprehensive notice plan,according to the settlement motion filed Sept. 24 in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.

"The settlement represents an outstanding result to class members: Honda has agreed to extend its three-year warranty with respect to the allegedly defective door lock actuators to the greater of six years from the original vehicle purchase date, or six months from the date of the final approval hearing," the settlement document states.

During this extended warranty period, class members can have their door lock actuators repaired at an authorized Honda dealer at no charge.

"In addition, Honda has agreed to reimburse class members for reasonable expenses (including parts and labor) for past door lock actuator repairs, and for any such repairs completed within seven days after notice is sent to the settlement class," the document states.

Honda has also agreed to replace the front driver's-side door lock actuator on settlement class vehicles, according to the document. For most settlement class members, this settlement will provide them with a full recovery, the sides claim.

The lawsuit was initially filed Jan. 18, 2013, with Kevin Davitt, Scott Carter and Mark Tudyk as the three named plaintiffs.

The plaintiffs claimed that 2007, 2008 and some 2009 Honda CR-V's suffered from a door lock defect that caused the door lock actuators to cease operating properly, thereby causing the door locking mechanism to fail to function as intended and expected.

The plaintiffs claimed Honda violated New Jersey, Florida and California consumer fraud statutes, and also sought recovery for breach of express warranty, breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing, common law fraud and, alternatively, unjust enrichment.

"Plaintiffs alleged that Honda was aware of the door lock defect, but failed to disclose it to consumers," the document states.

Honda has agreed not to oppose class counsel's attorneys' fees and expenses request in the aggregate amount of $1.4 million.

Honda has also agreed not to oppose incentive awards of $1,500 to each of the three named plaintiffs. The plaintiffs will seek court approval of these payments before the deadline for settlement class members to file objections.

"Significantly, these obligations to pay class counsel’s court-approved fees and expenses and the incentive awards will not reduce the settlement consideration the settlement class will receive," the settlement document states.

The plaintiffs are represented by Joseph G. Saunder, Matthew D. Schelkopf and Benjamin F. Johns of Chimicles & Tikellis LLP; and Jonathan W. Cuneo and William H. Anderson of Cuneo Gilbert & Laduca LLP.

Honda is represented by Robert M. Goodman of Greenbaum Rowe Smith & Davis LLP.

The case is assigned to District Judge Faith S. Hochberg.

U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey case number: 2:13-cv-00381

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