Milberg Files Class Action Antitrust Lawsuit on Behalf of Farmers Against John Deere
New York, New York – On February 3, 2022, Milberg Coleman Bryson Phillips Grossman, PLLC (“Milberg”) filed an antitrust class action lawsuit against John Deere (Deere & Co.) (“Deere”) in the Eastern District of Tennessee on behalf of all persons and entities who purchased repair and maintenance services for Deere brand agricultural equipment, including tractors and combines, with onboard central computers known as electronic control units or “ECUs” from Deere or Deere’s authorized Dealers and/or technicians.
John Deere is undeniably the largest player in the agricultural machinery market in the United States, responsible for over half of all U.S. farm machinery sales, selling twice as much machinery as its two next-largest competitors combined. While generations of farmers had the right to repair their own farming equipment – or had the option to bring that equipment to an independent mechanic – farmers today are prohibited from accessing the proprietary software and related repair tools that control every aspect of their Deere equipment.
Instead, Deere has unlawfully monopolized the market for repair and maintenance services for Deere brand agricultural equipment with ECUs. Software is only available to Deere’s network of heavily-consolidated independent dealerships Pursuant to their agreements with Deere, these dealerships are contractually bound not to sell or provide farmers or repair shops with the necessary software for ECUs and other tools to make repairs and upgrades to Deere equipment. Deere has effectively created a tying arrangement, whereby Deere customers’ initial purchase of their agricultural equipment is tied to the purchase of Deere repair services.
As a result of prohibiting Deere agricultural equipment owners and independent repair shops from accessing the necessary resources for repairs, Deere and their dealerships have monopolized the Deere repair services market in the United States for Deere agricultural equipment controlled by ECUs, reaping supracompetitive profits and stifling competition in the repair market. This scheme has resulted in Plaintiff Underwood and the proposed Class paying more for repair services for their Deere equipment than they otherwise would have but for Deere’s anticompetitive conduct.
If you purchased Deere repair services for your Deere agricultural equipment controlled by ECUs during the period February 2018 to present, you may be a member of the Class. If you would like to discuss your legal rights, please contact Milberg attorney Blake Yagman at email@example.com or by calling Milberg’s New York office at 212-594-5300.
The case is Underwood v. Deere & Co. (d/b/a/ John Deere), 4:22-cv-00005 (E.D. Tenn.).