Contractors Agree to Resolve Anticompetitive Claims Arising from Highway Bids

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Oregon Attorney General Ellen F. Rosenblum announced a settlement agreement with 3M and Specialized Pavement Marking (SPM) to resolve allegations that the companies engaged in illegal and anticompetitive practices related to bids for highway pavement marking contracts on State of Oregon projects.

“Reducing competition involving public roadway projects is unacceptable,” Rosenblum said.  “Honest competition is crucial to the integrity of the public procurement process.”

Headquartered in St. Paul, Minnesota, 3M operates in more than 70 countries. SPM is headquartered in Tualatin, Oregon and is among the state’s largest installers of roadway marking products. The case against 3M and SPM involved the sale and installation of roadway markings for public road projects.

The settlement is the result of an investigation conducted by the Oregon Department of Justice into violations of state and federal antitrust laws involving public procurement projects. The allegations against 3M and SPM suggested that the companies exchanged information regarding bids, coordinated bids, allocated projects and provided false certifications. As a result, DOJ alleged that competition was reduced and the government received less advantageous terms for the purchase and installation of roadway marking products. The companies deny wrongdoing.

The agreement requires 3M and SPM to pay a combined $750,000 to the State of Oregon. An additional $750,000 will be available as a credit to the Oregon Department of Transportation for a total of $1.5 million. The companies also agreed to refrain from conduct that could substantially lessen competition and to provide the Department ongoing certification of compliance.

The Oregon Attorney General is charged with enforcing federal and state antitrust laws. Senior Assistant Attorney General Tim Nord handled the case for the Department of Justice.

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