A New Jersey company is being sued after allegedly trying to sell 3M protective masks to New York City officials at a 500 percent markup, according to a lawsuit filed by the manufacturing company. The lawsuit, filed in Manhattan federal court on Friday, alleges that New Jersey-based Performance Supply LLC tried to deceive city officials by falsely stating they were able to sell and distribute masks made by 3M, the largest manufacturer of N95 masks in the United States. The company allegedly tried to sell $45 million worth of masks to city officials on March 30—an offer the suit claims was “extreme price-gouging” during a time when protective equipment is in short supply in New York, the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic. The lawsuit is seeking various monetary damages, which 3M states they will donate to COVID-19 relief efforts.
“3M does not—and will not—tolerate price gouging, fraud, deception, or other activities that unlawfully exploit the demand for critical 3M products during a pandemic,” Denise Rutherford, 3M’s Senior Vice President, Corporate Affairs, said in a statement. “3M will not stop here. We continue to work with federal and state law enforcement authorities, and around the world, to investigate and track down those who are illegally taking advantage of this situation for their own gain.”