Mass. Right To Repair Decision Delayed For Sixth Time

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BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — A decision in the legal challenge to Massachusetts' Right to Repair law was delayed for a sixth time Friday.

United States District Judge Douglas Woodlock issued the delay, citing "the need to consider fully the implications of the long-anticipated decision” and “unforeseen and unforeseeable scheduling complications encountered in the past several weeks coming upon the extended holiday weekend" as the main reasons.

Massachusetts voters approved the Right to Repair law in November 2020 by a margin of 75-25. The law would require car manufacturers to provide vehicle owners and independent repair shops both access and control of the wireless diagnostic and repair data generated by their vehicles.

Shortly after the vote, the car company trade group known as the Alliance for Automotive Innovation filed a lawsuit asking the court to overturn the ballot question, citing cybersecurity concerns, insufficient time to comply with the new data access requirements, and their contention that the ballot initiative is preempted by federal law.

The initial trial was held June 2021, and after its conclusion Judge Woodlock said he hoped to reach a decision soon. However, he has now delayed his decision six times.

"We’re disappointed by the delay but hoping for a ruling in two weeks," said Tommy Hickey, Director of the Massachusetts Right to Repair Coalition. "It has been more than 1 ½ 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."

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