An appeals court in the United States has upheld a $210 million nationwide class-action settlement for owners of Hyundai and Kia vehicles due to over-inflated fuel economy figures.
CNBC reports that the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Pasadena, California, agreed on an 8-3 vote that there was enough in common among owners to allow them to settle as a group.
Additionally, it was determined that there was no evidence of collusion between the drivers’ lawyers and the automakers. The Court of Appeals also rejected arguments by owners opposed to the settlement that the claims were too burdensome.
The case started following the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s discovery that there were flaws in Hyundai and Kia’s testing procedures a few years ago. This prompted the car manufacturers to lower fuel efficiency estimates for about 900,000 vehicles from the 2011, 2012, and 2013 model years.
The settlement was originally approved in June 2015 by U.S. District Judge George Wu in Los Angeles, but a three-judge 9th Circuit panelreversed this decision in January 2018. These judges claimed that Judge Wu had failed to assess whether differences in state laws prevented a nationwide class going ahead. It was also ruled that used car owners should have been excluded, as it couldn’t be determined if they had relied on the fuel economy claims of the car manufacturers when purchasing their vehicles.
“We’re really pleased that drivers are finally going to get what they’re owed,” Richard McCune, a lawyer for the driver class, said in an interview with Euro News while discussing the reversal from the 2018 judgment.