The right-to-repair, class action lawsuit that dominated farm headlines in January was followed by another case days later.
Trinity Dale Wells, a cattle farmer with about 150 acres in northwest Alabama, filed suit in federal court in Huntsville, Ala.
Wells told AL.com he got a bill for more than $600 for a repair that took less than three minutes, because he needed a Deere technician with access to proprietary software.
Wells’s attorneys are asking the court to declare it a class action suit and say they hope to represent all affected in Alabama, Tennessee and Mississippi.
The complaint alleges John Deere has created a monopoly in violation of the federal Sherman Antitrust Act by stifling competition in the lucrative tractor repair market, forcing small repair shops to close by creating proprietary software and driving up prices for small farmers in need of tractor repairs.
“What that means is farmers now have to pay a technician to work on their farm or they have to haul their tractor to a dealership, sometimes forty miles away, sometimes several hundreds of miles away, to get them repaired because they can’t repair them themselves and they can’t get anybody who is not outside of a dealership or not in a dealership to work on them,” said Eric Artrip, Wells’s attorney.
A spokesman for Deere declined an interview from AL.com, saying the company does not comment on pending litigation.
Dealer association representatives also declined requests from the Association to comment on the litigation.