Pacific Legal Foundation prods West Virginia to stop road-blocking new moving companies

Representing entrepreneur Arty Vogt, PLF challenged a law that let established movers veto new competitors; the state has responded by repealing it

In a victory for economic liberty, West Virginia has repealed its anti-competitive restrictions on entry into the moving business.  The law was the target of a constitutional lawsuit filed last year by Pacific Legal Foundation on behalf of a family-owned moving business based in Virginia.  Senate Bill 174, which was just signed by Gov. Jim Justice, rescinds the state’s Certificate of Need law for the moving business — also known as a “competitor’s veto” law.  It allowed existing businesses to protest new license applications, forcing the applicants to prove a “need” for additional moving services — essentially, an impossible demand.  In more than 15 years, the state has not granted a license to any moving company whose operation was opposed by the state’s de facto cartel of established movers.

Watch a brief video on PLF’s and Arty Vogt’s victory.


Read about the case and the plaintiff in PLF’s litigation backgrounder.

“West Virginia is more free today because its cartel for the moving business has been repealed,” said Anastasia Boden, one of the PLF attorneys who filed the lawsuit that triggered the Legislature to repeal the competitor’s veto law.  “Formerly, anybody who wanted to start a moving business essentially had to ask their competitors for permission.  Now, the competitor’s veto has been lifted.  Anybody who wants to start a moving business need only have a truck, paint their name on the side of it, buy some insurance, and start packing boxes.  And that’s how it should be in a free, economically mobile society.”

Arty Vogt calls the repeal measure, ‘Stephanie’s Law,’ after his late wife

PLF represented, free of charge, Arty Vogt, owner of Lloyd’s Transfer & Storage, in Berryville, VA.  He and his late wife, Stephanie, ran up against the competitor’s veto when they applied to do business in nearby West Virginia.

“My late wife Stephanie was the driving force in our effort to get our license in West Virginia,” he recalls.  “But we were blocked by the state’s ‘Certificate of Necessity’ law, with existing moving companies vetoing our permit application.

“I was determined to honor her memory by fighting in court to get this un-American competitor’s veto law struck down.  I am grateful for Pacific Legal Foundation’s help in prodding state lawmakers to do the right thing.  I will always consider SB 174 to be ‘Stephanie’s Bill.’  This is a victory for her, and for everyone’s right to engage in honest free enterprise.”

PLF’s victory in challenging West Virginia’s competitor’s veto law follows up on the Foundation’s successful litigation against similar anti-competitive schemes for the moving or transportation businesses in Oregon, Missouri, Montana, and Kentucky.  In Kentucky, a federal judge ruled for PLF and struck down the state’s competitor’s veto law for the moving industry.  In Oregon, Missouri, and Montana, legislators responded to PLF’s constitutional lawsuits by repealing the targeted competitor’s veto laws.

PLF’s Economic Liberty Project:  Defending the Right to Earn a Living

“Cronyism like West Virginia’s ‘competitor’s veto’ law cannot stand,” said PLF Senior Attorney Larry Salzman.  “It is for entrepreneurs and consumers, not bureaucrats, to decide how many moving businesses are needed in a state.  With our Economic Liberty Project, PLF has been a leading courtroom defender of the right to earn a living free of unnecessary government interference.”

PLF was aided in this litigation by local counsel Anthony Majestro, of Powell & Majestro of Charleston, West Virginia.  Filed in the U.S. District Court for West Virginia, the case is titled, Vogt v. Ferrell.  More information, including a video, podcast, blog post, and a litigation backgrounder, is available at:

About Pacific Legal Foundation
Pacific Legal Foundation, America’s most powerful ally for justice, litigates in courts nationwide for limited government, property rights, and economic liberty.  PLF represents all clients free of charge.

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