US District Judge Douglas P. Woodlock announced on 1 July that his decision in the lawsuit brought by the Alliance for Automotive Innovation seeking to overturn updates to Massachusetts existing automotive Right to Repair law would be delayed again. In April, the Judge delayed the ruling until early July.
According to the Notice from Woodlock, “The need to consider fully the implications of the long-anticipated decision in West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency, and unforeseen and unforeseeable scheduling complications encountered in the past several weeks coming upon the extended holiday weekend prompt this Notice to the parties that issuance of the Findings and Conclusions in this case will be further delayed.” According to the Judge the delay this time should not extend past a mid-July grace period.
Approved by Massachusetts voters on 3 November 2020 the updated Right to Repair law would require manufacturers to provide vehicle owners both access and control of the diagnostic and repair data generated by their vehicles and independent repair facility access needed to repair vehicles.
Following voter approval, the Alliance for Automotive Innovation, the association that represents vehicle manufacturers, filed a lawsuit asking the court to overturn the data access ballot question based on a host of allegations including cybersecurity concerns, insufficient time to comply with the new data access requirements and their contention that the ballot initiative is pre-empted by federal law.
The Auto Care Association supports the updates and stated it continues to fight for the consumers right to choose where they get their vehicle maintained and repaired through both state and federal legislation.
Tommy Hickey, Director of the Massachusetts Right to Repair Coalition, said in a statement: “We’re disappointed by the delay but hoping for a ruling in two weeks. It has been more than 1½ years since Massachusetts voters approved Right to Repair by a 75-25 margin and almost a year from when a verdict was expected. During this delay, the automobile manufacturers are unfairly benefiting, winning new customers for their franchised dealerships, and consumers are losing. Contrary to the clearly expressed desires of the electorate, manufacturers are successfully using the courts to further their exclusive access to vehicle data and exclude independent repair shops and vehicle owners.”
The Massachusetts Right to Repair Coalition represents more than 4,000 members from a broad cross section of the state’s automotive service and repair industry.
This article courtesy of Russell Thrall III, publisher CollisionWeek. Check out the website at: www.collisionweek.com.