ORLANDO, Fla., Jan. 31, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Consumer lawsuits related to Hyundai's misrepresentation of vehicle mileage moved a step closer to court today when a special panel of federal court judges meeting in Orlando, Florida held a hearing on a request by Consumer Watchdog lawyers to centralize all such lawsuits in a Southern California federal court.
Acting in response to consumer complaints, in November 2011 and January 2012, Consumer Watchdog, a non-profit citizen organization, demanded that the White House and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency investigate allegations that Hyundai vehicles were falling far short of the "40 miles per gallon" promised by Hyundai in its national advertising campaign. When the government took no action, Consumer Watchdog lawyers sued Hyundai on behalf of a California consumer in July 2012.
"In situations like this, where a company has misled customers and undermined competition in the automobile marketplace on a national level, the most effective way to make sure Hyundai and Kia customers get their day in court is to centralize litigation in a single court," said Harvey Rosenfield, founder of Consumer Watchdog and one of the lawyers on the consumer legal team. "California is the best place, because the defendants are based here and our lawsuits were filed here. We look forward to thoroughly and expeditiously litigating this case and obtaining full justice for the consumers who have been victimized."
Last November, the EPA confirmed that an audit of Hyundai and Kia cars revealed that they did not achieve the stated mileage.
Thirty-two lawsuits were subsequently filed; on November 19, 2012, Consumer Watchdog filed a petition asking the federal judiciary to transfer and consolidate the cases in Southern California, where Hyundai and Kia are both based.
Hyundai and Kia are part of Hyundai Motor Group – a South Korean chaebol, or family owned conglomerate. The companies have announced they will offer shortchanged motorists a "gift card" claiming to provide repayment for extra gas, but the lawsuits filed by Consumer Watchdog on behalf of motorists allege that the gift cards are inadequate, and demand that Hyundai cover the inflated amount of the purchase price of the car, the decrease in its resale value and the full amount of the unexpected fuel costs.
The legal team, which includes the nationally-recognized firms of Cotchett, Pitre and McCarthy, LLP of Burlingame, CA; Cuneo, Gilbert & LaDuca, LLP of Washington, D.C.; Dreyer Babich Buccola Wood Campora, LLP of Sacramento, CA, along with attorneys for Consumer Watchdog, have filed suits on behalf of Hyundai and Kia buyers nationwide.
A decision by the federal Multi-District Litigation panel is expected within a few weeks.
For more information on the Consumer Watchdog litigation against Hyundai and Kia, visit this page. Documents include the petition before the Multi-District Litigation Panel that was heard today as well as the complaint in Krauth v. Hyundai.
Find us online at www.ConsumerWatchdog.org
SOURCE Consumer Watchdog