“I said I was going to rule from the bench,” said U.S. District Court Judge Douglas Woodlock at the end of a video conference hearing about Massachusetts’ Right to Repair legislation. “And I have ruled from my chair, so you can get going.”
The Alliance for Automotive Innovation’s, a trade association for the automotive industry, challenge to the recently passed Right to Repair vehicle data law will move forward, according to court documents and a recent video conference hearing.
Woodlock recently dismissed a motion made by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healy, which said additional discovery is needed ahead of a possible bench trial.
Woodlock said he does not like deciding a preemption case on a record that has not been fully developed. He also told all lawyers associated with the lawsuit, originally filed by the alliance, to prepare for litigation.
“There are too many unanswered questions for me here,” said Woodlock. “I think the formal position the commonwealth has taken has significant force, but I wouldn’t want to provide a disposition of the case without getting my hands on the merits.”
Healy stated the new law doesn’t clash with current federal laws, which the alliance claims does present challenges. According to the alliance, a vehicle’s GPS, navigation systems and other telematics systems are proprietary and the expanded law creates a cybersecurity risk.
During the conference, Massachusetts Assistant Attorney General Robert Toone Jr. weighed in on the proposed state and federal challenges brought up by the alliance.
“The problem is that no existing federal motor vehicle safety standard covers cybersecurity,” Toone said.
In November 2020, Massachusetts residents voted “yes” on the Right to Repair Bill, which centered on...