Judge Denies OEMs’ Request to Block Mass. Right to Repair Law

Judge Denies 11th-Hour Bid to Thwart Mass. Right to Repair Law

The automakers had asked the judge for a temporary restraining order to block enforcement of the law.

The federal judge presiding over automakers’ lawsuit against the state of Massachusetts has denied their request for a temporary restraining order aiming to block the state attorney general from enforcing an expanded Right to Repair law.

Ballot Question 1, which passed with 75% of the vote in November 2020, requires automakers to equip vehicles sold in Massachusetts with a standardized data platform that enables motorists to access their vehicles’ telematics data through a mobile app. While the law mandated that the changes were to take effect starting with the 2022 model year, the Alliance for Automotive Innovation – a lobbying group for the major automakers – has kept the law tied in up federal court to block its implementation.

In March, however, Massachusetts Attorney General Andrea Joy Campbell announced that she was prepared to begin enforcing the new law on June 1.

“The people of Massachusetts deserve the benefit of the law they approved more than two years ago,” Campbell said in March. “Consumers and independent repair shops deserve to know whether they will receive access to vehicle repair data in the manner provided by the law. Auto manufacturers and dealers need to understand their obligations under the law and take action to achieve compliance.”

U.S. District Judge Douglas Woodlock, who has repeatedly delayed ruling on the OEMs’ lawsuit, said the automakers still could pursue a preliminary injunction to thwart enforcement of the law, according to a report in the Boston Globe.

“The next step will be for the attorney general to issue the telematics system notice required by the data-access law on June 1,” Auto Care Association CEO Bill Hanvey said. “Unfortunately, the court refused to provide an estimate of when he may issue a final decision in the case but indicated that a decision is not imminent.”

Still, Hanvey said the association is “encouraged that the judge denied the Alliance’s request for an injunction and that the attorney general’s office will move forward by issuing the notice specified in the law on June 1.”

Hanvey added: “Without choice and independence guaranteed by the data-access law, there will be harmful effects on the motoring public, including being forced to pay more for repairs. We continue to encourage the court to make a final decision.”

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