AT&T allegedly trying to silence lawsuit-winner Matt Spaccarelli


(CBS News) Here's a case of Golliath attempting revenge on David. In this case, it's telecommunications giant AT&T who is allegedly trying to silence Simi Valley, Calif. man, Matt Spaccarelli.

It was only last month that Spaccarelli won a case against AT&T because the company reduced the speed on his iPhone 4, using a method called bandwidth throttling. Throttling in this case, was AT&T slowing down Spaccarelli's speed because he reached the top 5 percent of data users.

The problem with that is Spaccarelli has an unlimited data plan. Meaning, there should be no limit in his data usage. According to the Associate Press, AT&T started throttling accounts last year for the top 5 percent of data users that lasted until the end of their billing cycle.

Spaccarelli said his phone was throttled after 1.5 gigabytes to 2 gigabytes of usage. By comparison, AT&T offers a 3 gigabyte plan for $30, the same price as Spaccarelli's grandfathered unlimited plan.

Spaccarelli won his case in a Ventura Superior Court and was reward $850. After Spaccarelli won his case, he wanted to help other users who were also victims of throttling, so he posted a road map, of sorts, on his website. The site has the court documents he used to support his case.

"I'm not a lawyer and I've never done something like this before. I did my own research and took my own time to put together this case against AT&T. I'd like to share my experience with all of you," Spaccarelli said on his website.

According to the Associated Press, AT&T asked Spaccarelli to keep quiet about the lawsuit. The request was rejected by Spaccarelli.

A blog post at PublikDemand alleges that AT&T threatened to terminate Spaccarelli's plan if he refused to sign a non-disclosure agreement. The telecommunications giant cited Spaccarelli's tethering of his device, which is against the company's policy for unlimited plans.

Spaccarelli admitted he tethered his phone, but told the Associate Press he didn't care. He's more concerned about victory over AT&T.

Tech Crunch obtained a statement from AT&T responding to allegations of silencing Spaccarelli.

"Mr. Spaccarelli reached out to us to initiate a discussion, and naturally, we responded to him to hear what was on his mind and discuss his data usage," AT&T said in the statement. "Mr. Spaccarelli has said he tethers a second device to his smartphone, which is something that our unlimited data plans don't allow. For customers who tether, we have plans that allow them to do just that."

The Associated Press reported AT&T will change its throttling program to start at 3 gigabytes of data, which is the equivalent of their highest tiered plan.