April 14, 2021 – Judge Holds Off on Preliminary Settlement Approval
United States District Judge R. Gary Klausner has opted against preliminarily approving a settlement for the proposed class action detailed on this page, reasoning that the specifics of the proposed deal would hinder future claims not related to those presented by the plaintiffs.
According to the minutes of a hearing held Friday, Judge Klausner denied without prejudice the plaintiffs’ motion for preliminary approval of a proposed settlement the parties argued was “fair and reasonable.” The issue, the judge highlighted, is that the language in the settlement agreement between the class of California drivers and Honda with regard to the release of claims against the automaker is “overly broad” in that it “impermissibly releases claims beyond the factual predicate of the operative complaint.”
“Other courts have declined to provisionally certify class action settlement agreements that contained similarly broad releases,” Judge Klausner said. “Thus, the Court cannot approve the settlement until the scope of the release is narrowed to only apply to claims based on the same factual predicate asserted in the operative complaint to comply with [legal precedent].”
The plaintiffs have until 14 days from April 9 by which to file a renewed motion for preliminary settlement approval.
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July 28, 2020 – Judge Certifies California-Only Class
The judge overseeing the lawsuit detailed on this page has certified the following class:
“All persons or entities who purchased a new Class Car [2019 or 2020 Acura RDX vehicle] from an authorized Acura dealer in California.”
In an order issued July 28, the judge declared that the plaintiffs failed to offer a “workable solution” as to how the court should instruct the jury on the differences in state laws for the non-California plaintiffs. Consequently, their claims were severed from the case and transferred back to their home states.
A proposed class action has been filed against American Honda Motor Co. over an apparent infotainment system defect in 2019 and 2020 Acura RDX vehicles. Echoing anamended complaint filed in June, the lawsuit charges the vehicle’s infotainment system can frequently freeze or crash, which can render many of the system’s features, for which consumers paid a premium price, inoperable.
The infotainment system, which in third-generation Acura RDX vehicles comes with a single high-definition 10.2-inch touchpad-controlled display, is described as the “gateway” through which drivers and passengers can operate a vehicle’s audio system, GPS navigation, backup camera, and Bluetooth functionality. The issue, according to the complaint, is that the infotainment system is prone to frequent freezing or crashing. Overarching the alleged defect itself is the danger the lawsuit says this poses, as drivers can become distracted in the event of an infotainment system error on the road.
“Indeed, even under the best of conditions when infotainment-type systems are working properly, using them can create dangerous distractions,” the suit reads. “The chance of distraction is magnified when the systems do not work properly. The defect can also render safety-related systems (including backup camera functions) to fail.”
For its part, Honda, the lawsuit alleges, has “long known or should have known” of the infotainment system defect in newer Acura RDX vehicles, in part because of the “widespread consumer complaints” posed since the vehicles’ launch. According to the complaint, Honda “failed to disclose and actively concealed” the infotainment system defect from consumers, and continued to manufacture and sell vehicles with faulty systems.
What’s more, Honda, lacking a remedy to the alleged defect, has told vehicle owners and lessees to wait for a forthcoming software update it claims will fix the infotainment system issues, the lawsuit continues. In other cases, the suit says, Honda “replaces defective parts with equally defective parts,” trapping proposed class members in a less-than-ideal cycle. Honda dealerships, the case goes on, have even gone as far as to tell some consumers not to bother bringing their vehicles in for infotainment service at all.
“In fact, Honda’s authorized dealerships are routinely discouraging Vehicle owners from bringing their Vehicles to the dealership because there is nothing the dealership can do to repair the defect,” the case states.
The lawsuit rounds out by mentioning the Acura RDX was originally scheduled to launch with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity as standard features, and such was advertised by Honda in pre-release promotional materials distributed to dealers. When the vehicles hit the market in 2018, however, they came equipped with only Apple CarPlay, the case says, while Honda claimed Android compatibility was temporarily delayed while it worked on the vehicle’s touchpad controls. According to the lawsuit, more than a year has passed since the affected vehicles were released, and owners and lessees continue to wait for the Android compatibility promised by Honda.