July 1, 2022—The judge overseeing the legal challenge to Massachusetts' voter-approved Right to Repair law has delayed his decision for a sixth time.
According to a news release from the Auto Care Association, Judge Douglas Woodlock cited "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 for the delay.
Per the release, this delay is expected to be a short one.
Massachusetts' Right to Repair law has been in limbo ever since state voters overwhelmingly approved it—75 percent yes to 25 percent no—during the November 2020 election.
A coalition made up of more than 30 automakers known as the Alliance for Automotive Innovation filed a lawsuit against the Massachusetts Attorney General shortly after the vote to challenge the new law. The coalition cited "cybersecurity concerns, insufficient time to comply with the new data access requirements and their contention that the ballot initiative is preempted by federal law" per the ACA news release.
The initial trial was held June 2021, and shortly after it concluded Judge Woodlock said he hoped to reach a decision soon. However, more than a year has passed, and the judge has issued six delays.
Aaron Lowe, senior vice president of government and regulatory affairs for the ACA, told ADAPT Automotive in an interview in May that the process will most likely be dragged out even more once Judge Woodlock makes a decision, as whoever loses will most likely file an appeal.
“The more this judge delays actually issuing a verdict, the longer we go without actually addressing this whole issue of data, access and compliance,” Lowe said. “It’s a loss ultimately for the car owners in the state of Massachusetts, but it’s a loss for the aftermarket as well.”