Federal Judge Stops Kentucky from Enforcing Anti-Competition Law

Published June 14, 2013

A Kentucky state law that requires new moving companies to prove to government bureaucrats there is a “need” for their services before they can obtain a license has been blocked by a federal judge.

On June 13, U.S. District Court Judge Danny Reeves ordered the state of Kentucky to halt enforcement of its so-called “competitor’s veto” law for moving companies. The law gives existing licensed companies the ability to block new companies from getting licenses to operate.

Kentucky was seeking to prosecute Raleigh Bruner, owner of Wildcat Moving, in a state court for violating the law, and Bruner sued the state in federal court in an attempt to get the law overturned on constitutional grounds.

Reeves’ ruling will prevent the state from trying to shut down Bruner’s company, which employs 36 people in Lexington, until Reeves can rule on the constitutionality of the Kentucky law.

In ordering the injunction, Reeves seemed to indicate skepticism about the purpose of the law.

“Over at least the last five years, the only groups to file protests to new applicants have been existing moving companies,” he wrote. “And it appears that the notice, protest, and hearing procedure in the statutes—both facially and as applied—operate solely to protect existing moving companies from outside economic competition.”

Eric Boehm ([email protected]) reports for Watchdog.org, where an earlier version of this article appeared. Used with permission.