LOS ANGELES (Legal Newsline) - A settlement has been reached in a class action lawsuit against American Honda Motor Company for tire wear in Honda Civics and Honda Civic Hybrids.

Honda Civic and Honda Civic Hybrid owners who allegedly experienced uneven or rapid rear tire wear won preliminary approval of a class action settlement over allegations that Honda knowingly sold and leased the vehicles with a rear suspension defect.

The court approved attorneys fees to class counsel in the amount of more than $2.8 million and approved expenses to class counsel in the amount of $303,197.14, according to U.S. District Judge Margaret M. Morrow's final judgment that was filed Jan. 21 in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California's Western Division.

The court also awarded a service award of $35,000 in total and directed Honda to pay the amount to the representative plaintiffs through class counsel to be distributed to David J. Keegan, Luis Garcia, Eric Ellis, Charles Wright, Bet Kolstad and Carol Hinkle in the amount of $5,500 each; and Shawn Phillips and Benittia Hall in the amount of $1,000 each.

The plaintiffs claimed Honda knew that its 2006 and 2007 Honda Civics and 2006 through 2008 Civic Hybrids had defective rear suspensions through pre-release testing data, early consumer complaints and other internal sources, according to the complaint filed Dec. 10, 2010, in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California-Western Division.

Honda waited until January 2008 to notify customers, according to the suit.

The plaintiffs claimed as a result of the alleged suspension defect, the tires on the vehicles wore out unevenly or prematurely.

There are no safety concerns for owners of these vehicles, but the wear did cause them to pay out-of-pocket expenses to fix, according to the suit.

Honda denied their vehicles were defective, but settled the suit by offering to replace the class members' worn tires and the allegedly defective part that was causing the tires to wear. Honda also agreed to reimburse owners and those who leased the vehicles who had already paid out-of-pocket for the damages.

The plaintiffs were represented by Michael A. Caddell, Cynthia B. Chapman, Cory S. Fein and Bryan M. Keller of Caddell and Chapman in Houston; Matthew R. Mendelsohn of Mazie Slater Katz & Freeman LLP in Roseland, N.J.; and Payam Shahian, Ramtin Shahian and Christopher Swanson of Strategic Legal Practices APC in Los Angeles.

Honda was represented by Michael C. Andolina, David Johnson, Eric S. Mattson and Alexa C. Warner of Sidley Austin LLP; and Roy M. Brisbois and Eric Y. Kizirian of Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard and Smith.

U.S. District Court for the Central District of California-Western Division case number: 2:10-cv-09508

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