John Deere Lawsuits Over “Right to Repair” Consolidated for Pretrial Proceedings

Farmers and small repair shops claim John Deere has illegally monopolized the ability to repair its farm equipment, raising similar allegations of fact and law

A series of John Deere “right to repair” lawsuits will be consolidated before one judge in the federal court system, since they each involve similar class action claims that farmers and small repair shops are prohibited from accessing critical software tools to fix new generation farm equipment sold in recent years.

The John Deere class action claims consumers should have a right to repair equipment they purchased, but claim that the farm equipment giant has equipped its newer model tractors with proprietary software that requires expensive repair costs for services that are only available at certain manufacturer-approved service centers.

Plaintiffs allege John Deere is attempting to monopolize the farm equipment repair market, by prohibiting farmers and small repair shops from access to crucial software repair tools. As a result, the lawsuits claim John Deere is unfairly maximizing profits by restricting the ability for individuals to repair devices on their own, and causing longer downtime of equipment while waiting on approved dealer services. Plaintiffs also argue John Deere often adds clauses that any effort to repair the equipment outside of the use of a John Deere-approved dealer voids any warranties.

John Deere started equipping newer model tractors with onboard central computers, known as engine control units (ECUs), which are critical to the functionality of the machinery. However, the computers require special diagnostic tools and software to fix or clear errors, preventing the tractors from turning on or performing their primary functions, according to claims raised in at least six John Deere right to repair lawsuits in four separate U.S. District Courts.

After hearing oral arguments last month, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) issued a transfer order (PDF) last week, indicating that the litigation will be centralized U.S. District Judge Iain D. Johnston in the Northern District of Illinois, for coordinated discovery and pretrial proceedings.

Did You Know?

AT&T Data Breach Impacts Millions of Customers

More than 73 million customers of AT&T may have had their names, addresses, phone numbers, Social Security numbers and other information released on the dark web due to a massive AT&T data breach. Lawsuits are being pursued to obtain financial compensation.

Learn More

“These putative class actions share factual issues arising from allegations that, through various anticompetitive practices, Deere has monopolized the market for repair and maintenance services for Deere agricultural equipment equipped with engine control units by restricting access to necessary repair-related software and diagnostic tools,” the transfer order states. “The actions assert substantially identical claims under the Sherman Act, along with claims of unjust enrichment or promissory estoppel, and seek identical relief.”

The order states the centralization is appropriate given the common questions of fact and law in which will prevent duplicative discovery, inconsistent pretrial rulings and a waste of judicial resources.


Share Your Comments

I authorize the above comments be posted on this page*

Want your comments reviewed by a lawyer?

To have an attorney review your comments and contact you about a potential case, provide your contact information below. This will not be published.

NOTE: Providing information for review by an attorney does not form an attorney-client relationship.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

More Top Stories

Leadership Development Committee for Suboxone Dental Injury Lawyers Established in Federal MDL
Leadership Development Committee for Suboxone Dental Injury Lawyers Established in Federal MDL (Posted yesterday)

The U.S. District Judge presiding over all Suboxone lawsuits has created a mentorship program to use the litigation to provide some attorneys an opportunity to gain experience in handling complex federal multidistrict litigations.

Gilead Settlement Resolves 2,625 HIV Drug Lawsuits Pending in Federal Courts for $40M
Gilead Settlement Resolves 2,625 HIV Drug Lawsuits Pending in Federal Courts for $40M (Posted 3 days ago)

Gilead says it will pay $40 million to resolve HIV drug lawsuits over Truvada, Atripla, Viread, Stribild and Complera pending in the federal court system, involving claims that the the company sat on safer formulations of the drugs for years to increase profits.