Newly-elected Massachusetts Attorney General Andrea Campbell gave notice this week that effective June 1, 2023 her office intends to begin enforcing amendments to the state’s Right to Repair Law. The amendments, overwhelmingly approved by voters in a November 2020 ballot initiative, require that motor vehicle manufacturers selling vehicles in Massachusetts that “utilize a telematics system” beginning with model year 2022 must equip those vehicles with a standardized, non-proprietary, open access telematics platform “across all of the manufacturer’s makes and models” and make telematics data available to independent repair shops and vehicle owners through an application installed on a mobile device.
Soon after voters approved these measures, the Alliance for Automotive Innovation sought an injunction barring enforcement in federal court in Massachusetts, arguing that compliance with the Massachusetts law was impossible. At a bench trial in June 2021, the Massachusetts AG’s office argued that OEMs could comply with the new law by either making vehicles that do not use telematics systems or by disabling the telematics systems in vehicles sold in Massachusetts. The Massachusetts AG’s office had stipulated that it would not begin enforcing the new measures until the court rendered a decision, but a series of delays followed preventing the court from issuing a decision, including a request by the Massachusetts AG’s office in October 2021 to reopen evidence in the case to show that some OEMs had successfully disabled telematics systems in vehicles sold in Massachusetts, demonstrating that compliance with the law was not impossible.
In a March 7, 2023 filing in the case, now styled Alliance for Automotive Innovation v. Campbell, the Massachusetts AG provided notice of her intent to terminate the non-enforcement stipulation effective June 1, 2023. The Massachusetts AG also informed the court of her intent to comply with a requirement that her office establish a system for providing prospective vehicles owners notice about motor vehicle telematics and its purposes; a description of data collected; and the owner’s right to access that data though a mobile device and authorize an independent repair facility to access that data. With the parties still wrangling over supplementing the record more than 18 months after the trial concluded, the Massachusetts AG advised the court that although her office has “sought to balance competing concerns,” including the needs of a busy trial court whose business had been disrupted by the COVID pandemic, “the Attorney General has a specific statutory duty to issue the notice provided for [by the amendments]—a statutory command approved by 75% of Massachusetts voters over two years ago—as well as more general statutory and common-law duties to defend and enforce the laws of the Commonwealth.”