Judge Denies Automakers' Request to Block Right to Repair Law in MA
Published May 31, 2023
Massachusetts' Right to Repair Law will go into effect June 1, after a federal judge on May 30 denied a motion by an automaker-backed trade group to block it until a final decision has been issued in a case brought by the trade group after state voters approved the law in 2020.
The trade group, the Alliance for Automotive Innovation, had filed the motion May 25 asking U.S. District Judge Douglas Woodlock to stop Massachusetts Attorney General Andrea Joy Campbell from enforcing the Right to Repair law. Campbell announced in March she would take action to implement the law beginning June 1, despite the numerous delays of a decision in the case.
In a 2020 referendum vote, the law was approved by 75% of voters, who wanted to require automakers to allow access to their vehicles' data, so owners could get them fixed by independent auto repairers if they choose, rather than be forced to go to dealership service centers.
"Today the judge in Massachusetts denied the alliance’s request for an injunction holding that the Data Access Law remains in effect," said Auto Care Association President and CEO Bill Hanvey in a statement released May 30. "The next step will be for the attorney general to issue the telematics system notice required by the Data Access Law on June 1.
"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," Hanvey continued. "We are 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. 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."
The Massachusetts Right to Repair Coalition commended Campbell in March for deciding to move forward, despite the lack of a decision by a federal court, with implementing the Right to Repair law.
On May 26, the coalition issued a statement on what it described as "car manufacturers show[ing] their disdain for the will of the voters and their own customers" by filing the motion to stop the law from being enforced.
“On behalf of independent repair shops and their customers, we are disappointed but not surprised that car manufacturers would try to stop a law that 75% of Massachusetts voters supported at the ballot box,” said Tommy Hickey, director of the Massachusetts Right to Repair Coalition. “We expect that the judge will see this for what it is, a profit-driven delay tactic by automakers to force car and truck owners to go to their dealerships to pay more for repairs.”
Source: Auto Care Association, Massachusetts Right to Repair Coalition