02 June 2024

Hopefully, Deere Loses Big Time

Federal Judge Iain Johnston has ruled that the class action lawsuit against John Deere’s repair practices can go forward.

Considering the fact that he was appointed by Trump, and that he was a member of the Federalist Society, this is a pleasant surprise.

If you have been living in a cave, you are probably unaware that John Deere has been locking down its tractors so that farmers and independent mechanics cannot repair them or use 3rd party parts.

This is one reason why older unrestricted tractors actually sell for a premium over the newer models.

Of course, the certification of class action is not a victory in court, but frequently, particularly in front of Republican appointed judges and Federalist Society members, it is the highest hurdle to clear.

But clear it they did:

A U.S. judge on Monday said Deere & Co must face claims from crop farms and farmers that the agricultural machinery maker has unlawfully conspired to restrict services for maintenance and repair.

U.S. District Judge Iain Johnston in Rockford, Illinois, rejected Deere's effort to dismiss consolidated lawsuits accusing the Moline, Illinois-based company of violating U.S. antitrust law.
The judge said the plaintiffs had met legal thresholds to pursue their claims.

"According to the complaint's allegations, Deere has the ultimate control of the repair services market," Johnston wrote in his 89-page order. "These allegations are not mere legal conclusions. The complaint is chock-full of factual allegations to support this conclusion."

Deere has denied the allegations and will have a chance at a later stage in the case to dispute the merits of the farmers' claims. 


 In the Deere litigation, six prospective class actions were consolidated last year before Johnston. The cases allege Deere has conspired with dealerships to control where and how machines are maintained and repaired. 

The complaint said farmers are "prevented from using trusted, less expensive, and more conveniently located skilled mechanics who are not affiliated with Deere."

It is self evident that people should be allowed to repair stuff that they own, and even (former)Federalist Society members get that.


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