Moving Company Sues State for Enforcing a ‘Protectionist Advantage’

By CJ Ciaramella
Associate Editor, Oregon Commentator

PSU student Adam Sweet and his brother started a part-time moving business with their pickup truck. Soon business was flourishing, and they were successful enough to afford a real moving van. They christened their new, full-time outfit “2Brothers Moving Company.”

Imagine their surprise when the state fined them and towed their van because they didn’t have an “Oregon Intrastate Certificate to Transport Household Goods or Passengers.” In the state of Oregon, all moving companies must be licensed. Now Sweet, with the help of the Pacific Legal Foundation, is suing Oregon Attorney General Hardy Meyers, claiming the licensing system violates his 14th Amendment rights and provides “an unequal and unconstitutionally protectionist advantage to established moving companies who are able to limit their own prospective competition.”

Here’s what Sweet means by “protectionist advantage:” Even if 2Brothers had applied for the license, they probably wouldn’t have gotten it. The state notifies all other moving companies about a new application; and if they object, the application will be denied.

According to the PLF, every company for the last two years that has applied for the license has been denied. A certain word seems to spring to mind in this situation:

Cartel: a combination of independent commercial or industrial enterprises designed to limit competition or fix prices.

Surely the fact that 2Brothers was significantly undercutting regular moving companies had nothing to do with the state bringing the hammer down on them. Here’s the case complaint, and there’s also a video from the PLF outlining the case.


Cascade Policy Institute is Oregon’s free market public policy research center.

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Posted by at 11:45 | Posted in Measure 37 | 9 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Jerry

    I hope they win this suit. Government has no business standing in the way of private sector success. This is from the same state who says nude lap dancing is free speech. I guess working for a living isn’t.
    And these politicians wonder why people think they are ignorant.

  • poorfarmer

    Land use laws are the same.
    The county notifies all nearby land owners (within 1000′) about a new building application; and if they object, the application could be denied.
    nice to see government is consistent and not just picking on land owners.

    • Tim

      What!? It makes sense that neighbors should have _some_ say in the neighborhood aesthetic and the kinds of buildings they’ll be living/working near. That logic does not transfer to business licenses. Buildings are a bit more permanent, immobile, and visible than moving companies.

  • Britt Storkson

    There’s a lot of laws and policies expressly designed to limit competition which raises prices and lowers quality. Ever tried to join a labor union? You get to be a labor union member not because you’re qualified but because you kiss the feet of those who run the union. In fact if you’re qualified that’s considered a negative to the union because you might “show up” other less qualified union members.
    How about free markets for everything? That’s one of the things that made this country the economic powerhouse it is (or was).

  • Charles moss

    In Eugene we have two main garbage companies. One wanted to raise its rates and the other said their rates were fine. The city of Eugene said they both had to raise them or IT WOULD NOT BE FAIR! This is all from a STATE that only 150 ago was settled by pioneers. I bet they are turning over in their graves.

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