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Right-to-repair court case decision delayed for third time since March

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A federal judge on Friday again postponed a decision on a lawsuit filed by automakers represented by the Alliance for Automotive Innovation over updates to Massachusetts’ right-to-repair law — the third time since March that the long-awaited ruling has been delayed.

In a court filing, U.S. District Judge Douglas Woodlock cited “the need to consider fully the implications” of the Supreme Court’s decision Thursday in West Virginia vs. EPA.

In a 6-3 vote, the Supreme Court ruled that Congress did not grant the EPA the authority under the Clean Air Act to “devise emissions caps based on the generation shifting approach the agency took in the Clean Power Plan” under the Obama administration. The ruling does not affect the EPA’s ability to set greenhouse gas emissions standards for vehicles.

The Supreme Court decision and the right-to-repair lawsuit are unrelated.

Woodlock also cited “unforeseen and unforeseeable scheduling complications encountered in the past several weeks” as well as the extended holiday weekend for Independence Day as reasons for the delay.

“The delay is not anticipated to extend beyond the grace notice period” filed in a stipulation April 22 by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, which will likely give the judge another 14 days.

In April, Woodlock delayed his decision over “the resurgence of a demanding criminal trial schedule,” the resumption of in-court, nontrial proceedings and writing responsibilities in other matters.

He also postponed the decision in March because of “unforeseen and unforeseeable circumstances” and other competing demands.

The alliance filed the lawsuit against Healey in November 2020 after voters overwhelmingly approved a ballot measure that revised and expanded the state’s existing law.

The revised law — referred to as the “Data Access Law” in the lawsuit — requires makers of vehicles sold in the state to equip vehicles that use telematics systems with a standardized, open-access data platform beginning with the 2022 model year. It also gives vehicle owners and independent repair shops access to real-time information from the telematics, such as crash notifications, remote diagnostics and navigation.

The alliance has argued the state’s amended law conflicts with several federal laws, poses cybersecurity and vehicle safety risks and sets an impossible timeline for compliance.

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