|Contact: ||Elizabeth Yi|
Pacific Legal Foundation
Senior Vice President
Halldin Public Relations
Lawsuit Targets Oregon's Moving-Business Monopoly
Restrictive Licensing Law Is Unconstitutional, Charges Pacific Legal Foundation
Portland, OR; June 4, 2008: The State of Oregon illegally restricts competition in the moving business by forcing start-ups to get permission from established moving firms before they can enter the market. So argue attorneys with Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF), in a lawsuit filed today that challenges the state’s restrictive licensing procedures on movers.
PLF is the nation’s leading litigator for free enterprise and limited government. PLF attorneys filed today’s lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Portland, representing Adam Sweet, a Portland State college student and co-founder of a small start-up business, 2Brothers Moving andDelivery. PLF is the nation’s leading litigator for free enterprise and limited government.
“Imagine you want to start a business, but the government says you can’t unless you get an ‘OK’ from your competitors,” said PLF attorney Elizabeth A. Yi. “Do you think these established businesses are going to say, ‘Oh yes, come on in – the more the merrier?’ We’re challenging this anti competition law because the right to earn a living in one’s chosen occupation is protected under the U.S. Constitution. Government may regulate to protect the consumer, but not to protect businesses and interest groups from competition.”
At issue is Oregon’s requirement that new movers apply for and obtain the “Oregon Intrastate Certificate to Transport Household Goods or Passengers” before they can do businesses in the state. When a new business submits an application, the state Department of Transportation notifies existing moving companies, but not the general public. If an existing company protests against the upstart business, the new entrepreneur has to prove that there is a “public need” for a new company – a need that can’t be served by movers already long established.
“Not surprisingly, every new business that has applied for a certificate in the last two years has been turned down due to protests by existing companies,” said PLF’s Yi.
“Adam Sweet’s story is an inspiring example of the pursuit of the American dream,” Yi continued. In April 2006, he and his stepbrother, Jared Wood, began earning extra money byusing their pickup truck to help people more. Soon their business grew into a full-time operation.
“2Brothers filled a niche” said Adam Sweet. “2Brothers wasn’t just doing full service moving, our truck and crew have been readily available for small jobs, even just moving furniture around a client’s home.”
But on February 7, 2008, the Oregon Department of Transportation put up a roadblock. It fined 2Brothers and towed its truck on the grounds that the business didn’t have the required license.
“We’re not the only ones victimized by this restraint on competition,” said Sweet. “Consumers are also victims. In fact, we intend to charge less than many established movers.”
“Oregon’s anticompetitive certification requirement hurts the public and results from lobbying and political machinations, not a concern for free enterprise and the general good,” said Yi. “This is why PLF is in federal court, fighting for Adam Sweet’s rights – and for the rights of Oregon consumers to have a full range of choices in moving services.”
The case is Sweet v. Myers. The case complaint is available at PLF's Website. A litigation backgrounder and a short video on the case are also available.
About Pacific Legal Foundation
Pacific Legal Foundation (www.pacificlegal.org) is the oldest and most successful public interest legal organization that litigates for limited government and free enterprise, in courts across the country.