3M, the largest maker of N95 PPE masks in the country, has sued another company for offering to sell New York City overpriced N95 masks for $45 million.
3M claims the company, New Jersey-based Performance Supply, wasn't authorized to distribute the masks and had attempted to inflate their price by more than 500 percent in New York.
3M called Performance Supply's offer to New York "extreme price-gouging," according to the lawsuit filed in the federal court in Manhattan on April 10.
Though the case reads like a standard trademark and false advertising case, it highlights allegations of widespread price gouging popping up everywhere since the national emergency began. The company's legal action dovetails with pushes from federal authorities and state governments to crack down on price gouging and other alleged fraud during the CCP virus pandemic.
Performance Supply has not yet responded to the allegations in court.
"3M has not increased the prices that it charges for 3M respirators as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. Unfortunately, any number of wrongdoers seek to exploit the current public health emergency and prey on innocent parties through a variety of scams involving 3M N95 respirators and other products in high demand," 3M wrote in the complaint.
"Unsavory characters continue their quests to take advantage of healthcare workers, first responders, and others in a time of need and trading off the fame of the 3M brand and marks. [The] Defendant is a prime example of this unlawful behavior."
If the company wins damages in the lawsuit, 3M said it would donate them to charities working on COVID-19 relief, the complaint said.