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AT&T Defeats Class Action In Unlimited Data Throttling Case

An anonymous reader writes from an Ars Technica article: Customers who sued ATT over its practice of throttling unlimited data plans will not be able to pursue a class-action lawsuit against the company. ATT argued that the customers could not only have their complaints heard individually in arbitration, and Judge Edward Chen of US District Court in Northern California has sided with the cellular company. Chen accepted ATT’s argument, noting that the Supreme Court previously upheld ATT’s arbitration provision in a 2011 decision. In the 2011 case, ATT Mobility v. Concepcion, the Supreme Court found that the Federal Arbitration Act preempted a California state law that limited the power of companies to force customers into arbitration. [Chen’s ruling granting ATT’s motion to compel arbitration was issued on February 29 and highlighted in a MediaPost article Friday.] “Plaintiffs argue that the Concepcion Court never addressed the specific issues now raised — i.e., that enforcement of the arbitration agreements would violate their rights as protected by the Petition Clause of the First Amendment,” Chen wrote. “Because there is no state action in the instant case, Plaintiffs lack a viable First Amendment challenge to the arbitration agreements. As Plaintiffs have not challenged the arbitration agreements on any other bases, the Court grants ATT’s motion to compel arbitration.”

ATT is still being punished by the FCC and FTC. Ars Technica writes, “The FCC last year proposed a $100 million fine to punish ATT for throttling the wireless Internet connections of customers with unlimited data plans without adequately notifying the customers about the reduced speeds. Separately, the FTC sued ATT in an attempt to gain millions of dollars worth of refunds for customers who paid for unlimited data and had their speeds throttled.”


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