Court refuses to throw out PLF’s challenge to Kentucky’s mover cartel

February 25, 2013 | By TIMOTHY SANDEFUR

This morning, federal Judge Danny Reeves rejected the state of Kentucky’s effort to dismiss our lawsuit challenging that state’s anti-competitive licensing law for moving companies. The Bluegrass state, like many others, uses a “certificate of public convenience and necessity” law to limit how many people may operate moving companies in the state. If you apply for a certificate to operate a moving company, the state’s existing moving companies are given a special opportunity to object, and if an objection is filed, you’re required to attend a hearing and prove to a government agency that there’s a “public need” for a new moving company. How one proves this remains a bit of a mystery, since the law is so vague that it’s basically anyone’s guess. But it is clear that these laws are used across the nation to restrict the right to earn a living and protect established businesses against legitimate competition by people like our client, Raleigh Bruner.

The government asked the court to throw out our lawsuit on the grounds that it was “unripe,” meaning that Bruner was required to apply for a certificate and be denied before he could argue that the law was unconstitutional. That argument was clearly contrary to the law—the Supreme Court has repeatedly held that you’re allowed to challenge the constitutionality of a law without having to first submit yourself to it. Today’s decision rejects the government’s arguments in every respect and allows us to proceed to prove our case.

To learn more about this lawsuit, or about PLF’s other cases challenging similar anti-competitive laws in Nevada, Oregon, and Missouri, click here.