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SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA
COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES
Notice of Proposed Class Settlement,
Hearing on Final Approval of the Settlement
A state court authorized this Notice. This is not a solicitation from a lawyer.
Who is covered by this settlement?
What is this settlement about?
The lawsuit claims that sun visors on some Honda Civics are defective, causing them to split apart, which may impair their function.
All persons in the United States, including the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the territories of the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam and Saipan, who currently own or lease or previously owned or leased one or more of the Class Vehicles (defined in response to Question 1 below). These people are referred to in this Notice as “Class Members.”
What are the benefits of this settlement?
American Honda Motor Co., Inc. (“Honda”) has extended the warranty for sun visors on Class Vehicles to seven years or 100,000 miles, whichever first occurs. In addition, the settlement provides that Honda will reimburse Class Members who, prior to the Effective Date of the settlement and during the period of the extended warranty, paid to repair or replace a sun visor or sun visors on Class Vehicles. This settlement also establishes procedures and standards for processing claims, including an appeals process; provides assistance to Class Members seeking settlement benefits; and ensures that the program will be administered under the Court’s supervision.
What is the Adjustment Program?
In conjunction with the settlement described above, Honda has implemented the terms of the settlement prior to the Court’s final approval by extending the express limited warranty for sun visors for the Class Vehicles to seven years or 100,000 miles, whichever first occurs, and reimbursing current and former owners/lessees of those Class Vehicles for past repairs or replacements of the sun visors. These benefits will be provided to Honda owners regardless of whether the Class Action settlement is approved by the Court.
Your legal rights are affected whether you act or don’t act. Read this Notice carefully.
YOUR LEGAL RIGHTS AND OPTIONS IN THIS LAWSUIT
SUBMIT A CLAIM FORM
This option is the only way to get a cash payment.
If you timely submit a valid Claim Form (enclosed) with a receipt, invoice or similar documentation showing payment for a qualified sun visor replacement or repair, you will be eligible to receive a reimbursement payment.
Get out of this lawsuit. Keep rights.
Asking to be excluded from this lawsuit allows you to be part of any other lawsuit against Honda about the legal claims in this case. Regardless of exclusion, you will remain eligible for reimbursements for the repairs or replacements of the sun visors as described in the Adjustment Program and the warranty for sun visors will be extended.
Write the Court about why you like or don’t like the settlement.
You may choose to write the Court indicating why you like or dislike the settlement. You must remain a member of the lawsuit (i.e., you cannot ask to be excluded) in order to object to the settlement.
Get no payment. Give up rights.
If you do not submit a Claim Form, you will not be reimbursed for any money you paid out of pocket to fix your sun visor(s). If you do not exclude yourself from this settlement, you will not be able to sue Honda for any claims related to this settlement and you will be bound by the rulings made in this case.
These rights and options—and the deadlines to exercise them—are explained in this Notice.
The Court in charge of this case still has to decide whether to approve the settlement. Please be patient because this process will take time.
The Adjustment Program will remain in effect whether or not the Court approves the settlement.
1. Why did I get this Notice?
You received this Notice for two reasons. The first is to advise you of a class action lawsuit that is pending in the Superior Court of the State of California, County of Los Angeles, known as Cooper, et al. v. American Honda Motor Co., Inc., Case No. BC 448670. Judge William F. Highberger, who is presiding over this case, authorized this Notice. The second is to advise you that Honda has implemented an Adjustment Program affecting certain Honda Civic automobiles.
You received this Notice because you or someone in your family has been identified as a current or former owner or current or former lessee of one of the following vehicles which are covered by the proposed settlement and by the Adjustment Program:
2006-08 Civic: All
2009 Civic 2-Door:
From VIN 2HGFG1…9H500001
2009 Civic 4-Door:
From VIN 19XFA1…9E000061
From VIN 2HGFA16…9H300001
thru 2HGFA16… 9H339069
From VIN 2HGFA16…9H500001
From VIN 1HGFA1… 9L000008
thru 1HGFA1… 9L025282
From VIN JHMFA1…9S200024
2009 Civic Si 2-Door:
From VIN 2HGFG2…9H700001
2009 Civic Si 4-Door:
From VIN 2HGFA5…9H700001
2009 Civic GX:
From VIN 1HGFA4…9L00000l
2006-08 Civic Hybrid: ALL
2009 Civic Hybrid:
From VIN JHMFA3…9S000002
These vehicles are referred to as the “Class Vehicles.” If you are a prior or current owner or prior or current lessee of a Class Vehicle, then you are a “Class Member.”
You have a right to know about the class action lawsuit and the proposed settlement reached by Honda and the Plaintiffs. As a Class Member, you have various options that you may exercise before the Court decides whether to approve the settlement.
This Notice explains the lawsuit, the settlement, your legal rights, the available benefits, who is eligible for them, and how to get them, as well as the terms of the Adjustment Program.
2. What is this class action lawsuit about?
This lawsuit is about the sun visors in the “Class Vehicles” listed in the response to Question 1, above.
The Plaintiffs allege that the sun visors in the Class Vehicles are defective, causing them to split apart which may impair their function. The Plaintiffs also allege that Honda should have corrected the defective sun visors or should have disclosed the defect at the time of sale. Honda denies it did anything wrong.
You can read a copy of the lawsuit, known as the Amended Class Action Complaint, at www.visorsettlement.com.
3. What is a class action lawsuit and who is involved?
In a class action lawsuit, one or more persons called “Class Representatives” sue on behalf of other people who have similar claims. All of these people together are called a “Class” or “Class Members.” Class Representatives—and all Class Members like them—are called the Plaintiffs. The company they sued (in this case, American Honda Motor Co., Inc.) is called the Defendant. The lawyers who represent the Class are called “Class Counsel.” In a class action lawsuit, all factual questions and legal issues are resolved for everyone in the Class—except those people who choose to exclude themselves from the Class.
4. Why is there a settlement?
The Court did not decide in favor of Plaintiffs or Defendant. Instead, both sides agreed to a settlement. This way, both sides avoid the cost of a trial, and the people affected will get compensation quickly. The Class Representatives and Class Counsel think the settlement is best for everyone who has owned or leased a Class Vehicle.
WHO IS IN THE SETTLEMENT?
5. Am I part of this Class?
The Class includes all residents of the United States, including the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam and Saipan, who are current or former owners or lessees of a Class Vehicle. Class Vehicles are the vehicles listed above under Question 1.
6. I’m still not sure if I am included.
If you are still not sure whether you are included, you can get free help by calling 1-888-888-3082 or by writing to Class Counsel at the address listed under Question 20, below.
SETTLEMENT BENEFITS – WHAT YOU GET
7. What benefits does the settlement provide?
Honda has agreed to extend the warranty on sun visors on Class Vehicles to seven years or 100,000 miles, whichever first occurs. In addition, Honda has agreed to reimburse Class Members for out-of-pocket expenses incurred prior to the Effective Date of the settlement for the repair or replacement of a sun visor or sun visors on Class Vehicles. A Class Member is eligible to get a CASH REIMBURSEMENT if:
• The Class Member has paid out-of-pocket to repair or replace the sun visor or sun visors in his or her Class Vehicle prior to the Effective Date of the settlement;
• The cost of repair or replacement was not previously reimbursed by insurance, warranty, or goodwill; and
• The Class Member follows each of the four steps listed under Question 9, below.
8. How much will I get?
A Class Member can get reimbursed for the full amount that he or she paid to repair or replace the sun visor or sun visors in his or her Class Vehicle.
9. How do I get paid?
To get paid under the settlement, you must do 4 things:
(1) Complete the Claim Form;
(2) Along with the Claim Form, enclose a copy of a receipt, invoice, canceled check, or other documentation for each sun visor repair or replacement. The documentation MUST reflect the date, price, vehicle information and that the repair was related to the sun visor;
(3) On the Claim Form, sign and date at the bottom; and
(4) Mail the Claim Form to the address on the form within two (2) years from the date of sun visor repair or replacement, or within ninety (90) days of the Effective Date of the settlement, whichever period of time is longer.
The Claim Form is enclosed with this Notice and you can print additional copies at www.visorsettlement.com.
10. What if I don’t timely mail a completed Claim Form and documentation?
If you fail to mail the Claim Form and supporting documentation by the required deadline, you will not get reimbursed. Sending in the Claim Form late or without documentation is the same as doing nothing (see Question 25).
11. When do I get my payment?
Payment will be sent to you by Honda within twenty-one (21) days of receipt of a valid and timely Claim Form. If there is a problem with the claim or if it is denied, a letter will be sent to you within twenty-one (21) days of receipt of the claim explaining the problem with the claim or the reason for the denial, and it will provide you with an opportunity to re-submit your claim, if appropriate.
12. What am I giving up to get a payment and stay in the Class?
Unless you exclude yourself, you are staying in the Class, and that means that you cannot sue, continue to sue, or be part of any other lawsuit against Honda about the same legal issues in this case. It also means that all of the Court’s orders will apply to you and legally bind you.
EXCLUDING YOURSELF FROM THE SETTLEMENT
13. How do I get out of this settlement?
To exclude yourself from the settlement, you must send a letter by U.S. Mail (or an express mail carrier) saying that you want to be excluded from Cooper, et al. v. American Honda Motor Co., Inc., Case No. BC 448670. Be sure to include your full name, address, telephone number, signature, model year and VIN of your Class Vehicle(s), and the approximate date(s) of purchase or lease. You must mail your exclusion request postmarked no later than August 26, 2011, to:
Rust Consulting, Inc.
P.O. Box 8000
Faribault, MN 55021-9400
You cannot exclude yourself on the phone or by e-mail. If you exclude yourself from the settlement, you will not be legally bound by anything that happens in this lawsuit.
14. If I don’t exclude myself, can I sue Honda later?
No, not for the same legal claims at issue here.
15. If I exclude myself, can I get money from this settlement?
No. If you exclude yourself from the Class, you won’t get any money or benefits from this settlement. However, under the Adjustment Program, you will still be eligible for reimbursement for repairs or replacement of sun visors that occurred prior to you receiving this Notice.
16. How does the Adjustment Program Work?
Honda has implemented the terms of the settlement by extending the express limited warranty for sun visors for the Class Vehicles for seven years or 100,000 miles, whichever first occurs, and reimbursing current and former owners or lessees of those vehicles for past repairs or replacements of the sun visors. These benefits will be provided to owners or lessees of Class Vehicles regardless of whether the settlement is approved by the Court. The procedures for seeking reimbursement under the Adjustment Program are the same as under the settlement and are set forth in response to Question 9, above.
THE LAWYERS REPRESENTING YOU
17. Do I have a lawyer in this case?
The Court has decided that the law firms Berk Law PLLC of Washington, D.C., and Terrell Marshall Daudt & Willie PLLC of Seattle, Washington, are qualified to represent you and all the Class Members. Together these law firms are called “Class Counsel.” They are experienced in handling similar cases against other automotive manufacturers. More information about these law firms, their practices, and their lawyers’ experience is available at www.berklawdc.com and www.tmdwlaw.com.
18. Should I get my own lawyer?
You do not need to hire your own lawyer because Class Counsel is working on your behalf. But, if you want your own lawyer, you may hire one at your own cost.
19. How will the lawyers be paid and will there be incentive payments?
Class Counsel has not received any fees or reimbursement for any of the expenses associated with this case. For their work on this case, Class Counsel will ask the Court for an award of attorneys’ fees and expenses from the Defendant that does not exceed $430,000.00 (“Attorneys’ Fee and Cost Award”). In addition, Class Counsel will ask that the Court order the Defendant to pay each of the named Plaintiffs a $1,500 service award in recognition of their efforts on behalf of the Class. Any fees, expenses, or incentive awards that Class Counsel request must be approved by the Court and will be paid directly by Honda—which means that these awards will not reduce the money available to you and other Class Members and will be paid in addition to any payments made to you and other Class Members.
SUPPORTING OR OBJECTING TO THE SETTLEMENT
20. How do I tell the Court that I like or do not like the settlement?
If you are a Class Member, you can tell the Court that you like the settlement and that it should be approved, or that you object to the settlement if you do not like any part of it, including the requested Attorneys’ Fee and Cost Award. The Court will consider all comments from Class Members.
To object, you must send a letter saying that you are commenting on the settlement in Cooper, et al. v. American Honda Motor Co., Inc., Case No. BC 448670. You must include your full name, current address, telephone number, model year and VIN of your Class Vehicle(s), your factual and legal grounds for objecting, any documents supporting your objection, and your signature. If you intend to appear at the Final Approval Hearing through counsel, your comment must also state the identity of all attorneys representing you who will appear at the Fairness Hearing. You must send your objection to the settlement or Attorneys’ Fees and Cost Award to the three different places set forth below, such that it is postmarked no later than August 26, 2011:
No. 1: Court
Los Angeles Superior Court
Central Civil West
600 South Commonwealth Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90005
No. 2: Class Counsel
BERK LAW PLLC
c/o Steven N. Berk
1225 15th Street NW
Washington, DC 20005
TERRELL MARSHALL DAUDT & WILLIE, PLLC
c/o Beth E. Terrell
936 North 34th Street, Suite 400
Seattle, WA 98103
No. 3: Defendant’s Counsel
LEWIS BRISBOIS BISGAARD & SMITH LLP
c/o Roy M. Brisbois
221 N. Figueroa Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
If you do not submit a written objection to the proposed settlement or the application of Class Counsel for service awards, attorneys’ fees, and expenses in accordance with the deadline and procedure set forth above, you will waive your right to be heard at the Final Approval Hearing and to appeal from any order or judgment of the Court concerning this case.
21. What is the difference between objecting and excluding?
Objecting is simply telling the Court that you do not like something about the settlement. You can object only if you stay in the Class. Excluding yourself is telling the Court that you do not want to be part of the Class. If you exclude yourself, you have no basis to object because the case no longer affects you.
22. When and where will the Court decide whether to approve the settlement?
The Court will hold a Fairness Hearing (or a “Final Approval Hearing”) at 11:00 a.m. on September 16, 2011, in Department 307, Central Civil West Courthouse, 600 South Commonwealth Avenue, Los Angeles, California 90005. At this hearing the Court will consider whether the settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate. If there are objections, the Court will consider them. Judge Highberger may listen to people who have asked to speak at the hearing. The Court will also decide whether and how much to pay Class Counsel and whether to approve incentive awards for the Class Representatives. After the hearing, the Court will decide whether to approve the settlement, the attorneys’ fees and costs, and the incentive awards. We do not know how long it will take for the Court to make its decision.
23. Do I have to come to the hearing?
No. Class Counsel will answer any questions Judge Highberger may have about the settlement. But you are welcome to come at your own expense. If you send an objection, you do not have to come to Court to talk about it. As long as you submitted your written objection on time, the Court will consider it. You may also pay your own lawyer to attend, but it is not necessary.
24. May I speak at the hearing?
If you do not exclude yourself, you may ask the Court’s permission to speak at the hearing concerning the proposed settlement or the application of Class Counsel for attorneys’ fees and expenses. To do so, you must send in a letter saying that it is notice of your intention to appear at the Fairness Hearing in Cooper, et al. v. American Honda Motor Co., Inc., Case No. BC 448670. The letter must state the position you intend to present at the hearing, the identities of all attorneys who will represent you (if any), and must include your full name, current address, telephone number, model year and VIN of your Class Vehicle(s), and your signature. You must send your notice to the Clerk of the Court, Class Counsel, and Defendant’s Counsel at the three addresses listed under Question 20 such that it is received no later than September 15, 2011. You may combine this notice and your comment or objection (described under Question 20) in a single letter. You cannot speak at the hearing if you excluded yourself from the settlement.
IF YOU DO NOTHING
25. What happens if I do nothing at all?
If you do nothing and if you do not submit a Claim Form, you’ll get no money from the Adjustment Program or this settlement, plus you will not be able to sue Honda for any claims related to this settlement and you will be bound by the rulings made in this case. However, the sun visors in your vehicle will be covered by the extended warranty.
26. Are there more details available?
You may visit the website www.visorsettlement.com, where you can find extra Claim Forms, additional information on the litigation and settlement, and documents such as the Amended Class Action Complaint filed by the Plaintiffs, as well as Plaintiffs’ Motion for Preliminary Approval and Petition for Attorneys’ Fees and Costs which will be available on the website after it is filed with the Court.
Updates regarding the case will be available at www.visorsettlement.com.
You may also call Class Counsel at 1-202-232-7550 or 1-206-816-6603, or write them at:
Berk Law PLLC
ATTN: Honda Civic Sun Visor Litigation
1225 15th Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20005
Terrell Marshall Daudt & Willie PLLC
ATTN: Honda Civic Sun Visor Litigation
936 North 34th Street, Suite 400
Seattle, WA 98103