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Pro Se Plaintiff Wins $850 Small-Claims Award in Data-Throttling Case Against AT&T

Posted Feb 24, 2012 4:50 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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Individuals who purchased "unlimited data" plans from AT&T in years past presumably may have expected to use as much as they wanted.

But, after warning customers, the telecommunications company has started slowing down the speed at which the heaviest users of such plans can proceed. It stopped selling such plans in 2010.

That approach has been controversial, although AT&T says it has the right to impose the slowdown. California judge disagreed and awarded a pro se plaintiff $850 in a Simi Valley small-claims case, the Associated Press reports.

The Ventura Superior Court verdict could help encourage other such suits. It isn't yet known whether AT&T will appeal.

The unlimited data contract provides for a $10,000 award for those who successfully arbitrate, and plaintiff Matt Spaccarelli, an unemployed truck driver, sought that amount in his suit. However, Pro-tem Judge Russell Nadel gave him $95 for each of the 10 months remaining in his contract.

Related coverage:

9to5Mac: "If AT&T throttles you, are you entitled to $850?"

AppAdvice: "AppAdvice Readers Expose More Bad News About AT&T Throttling"

Associated Press: "AT&T now 'throttling' high-use customers "

CNet News: "AT&T data traffic doubling as users complain about throttling"

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