Social Links Search




Federal Judge to Consider John Deere Right-To-Repair Motion in Upcoming Hearing

Federal Judge to Consider John Deere Right-To-Repair Motion in Upcoming Hearing

July is expected to be a crucial month in the ongoing right-to-repair antitrust case against John Deere, as the federal judge in the case is set to hold a hearing on several key motions in the next few weeks.

Among the motions filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Central Illinois is one by John Deere for a judgement on the pleadings. The motion essentially asks the court to rule on the facts already presented before a trial can be held.

Judge Iain D. Johnston told attorneys on both sides last week to come up with a hearing date for the motions. In addition, there is an ongoing discovery dispute in the case.

More than 17 farmers filed class-action lawsuits in numerous states, alleging Deere violated the Sherman Antitrust Act and are seeking damages for paying for repairs from Deere dealers beginning on Jan. 12, 2018, to the present.

The cases allege the company has monopolized the repair service market for John Deere brand agricultural equipment with onboard central computers known as engine control units, or ECUs.

In a text order filed by Johnston, the judge raises questions about Deere's December 2022 motion where the company alleges the farmer plaintiffs failed to identify a "co-conspirator" in the complaint.

That is, the Supreme Court has held previously in Illinois Brick Co. v. Illinois that indirect purchasers generally do not have antitrust standing to recover damages.

In this case, John Deere has alleged that since farmers do not buy equipment directly from Deere but rather from distributors, the farmer plaintiffs don't have standing to receive damages.

Johnston said in his order the issue was unclear.

"One issue that will definitely be discussed is whether to certify the question of whether, in the Seventh Circuit, co-conspirators must be named and joined as defendants under the conspiracy exception to satisfy the direct-purchaser rule of Illinois Brick," Johnston wrote.

"The court is beyond baffled, befuddled and bewildered on this issue. Maybe counsel will be able to shed some clarity beyond what is contained in their filings."

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit recently ruled on Marion Healthcare, LLC v Becton Dickinson and Co. In that case, healthcare providers alleged the medical-device manufacturer Becton and others conspired to engage in anticompetitive behavior.

In that case, the court vacated a district court's ruling declaring that although plaintiffs failed to plead a conspiracy, they should have been given the chance to amend their complaint.

In addition, there is a dispute between both sides in the Deere case about how much information the company should hand over to the farmer group.

The plaintiffs have asked Deere for diagnostic and error codes and other information on more than 8,500 John Deere tractors. Attorneys for the company contend it is not feasible to provide all the information because it would have to be done manually.

John Deere agreed to provide the information on a representative sample of tractors that cover about 25 models. The company said in a court filing the "burden and cost" for the company would be "immense."

Photo Credit: gettyimages-lightfieldstudios


USDA Announces July 2023 Lending Rates for Agricultural Producers USDA Announces July 2023 Lending Rates for Agricultural Producers
Iowa Farmers Progress Despite Rainy Conditions Iowa Farmers Progress Despite Rainy Conditions

Categories: Iowa, Equipment & Machinery, General

Subscribe to newsletters

Crop News

Rural Lifestyle News

Livestock News

General News

Government & Policy News

National News

Back To Top