This article below from 8/18/2011 and explains why AT&T is not being hit with a class action lawsuit regarding bandwidth throttling for customers like myself with Unlimited data plans. It seems AT&T’s contract requires that the only way you can fight anything is through arbitration.
Careful what you ask for dept.: AT&T won a decisive victory in April when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in AT&T vs. Concepcion that its arbitration contracts — those agreements you increasingly have to sign or click through when you buy a product or service — can prevent consumer lawsuits. But some enterprising lawyers have figured out how to turn these seemingly bulletproof agreements into an irritating new form of mass litigation. After AT&T announced a $39 billion takeover of T-Mobile, lawyers at Bursor & Fisher launched a “Fight the Merger” campaign, ostensibly to block the merger because it would raise prices. Most of these cases are shakedowns where the lawyers who so passionately defend the consumer quickly negotiate a settlement when the corporate target agrees to pay them a fee. Bursor & Fisher partner Scott Bursor says he isn’t one of those. His five-member firm has actually taken cases to trial, and won a $299 million jury verdict against SPRINT in a California in 2008 it’s still on appeal . And his campaign attracted more than 1,000 people who agreed to file arbitration complaints against AT&T seeking to block the merger. So far the American Arbitration Association, the entity AT&T selected to hear all such cases, has rejected the phone company’s request to have the claims dismissed. AT&T has returned fire, suing the customers in eight different federal districts and accusing the Bursor and Fisher of engineering a brazen scheme to hold up the T-Mobile merger until they get a fee. Instead of filing a class action — prohibited under the arbitration agreements and AT&T vs. Concepcion — AT&T says Bursor & Fisher have created its virtual equivalent with the aim of finding at least one arbitrator who is willing to rule in their favor. At least six of the plaintiffs are also lawyers at Faruqi & Faruqi, a New York firm that frequently issues press releases announcing it is “investigating” mergers for a potential lawsuit soon after they are announced. Although the claim is meritless, the Bursor and Faruqi firms are hoping that thousands of “bites at the same apple” will turn up just one arbitrator willing to entertain it — and that AT&T Mobile will hedge against that risk by entering into an extortionate settlement. If that sounds a little hot and bothered, perhaps that’s because AT&T is in a jam of its own making here. The AT&T agreement was designed to suck virtually any type of consumer litigation into arbitration and Bursor said he’s merely taking advantage of those terms. The agreement ostensibly covers “any aspect of the relationship between us” and Bursor says that includes claims the pending merger will result in higher prices for cellular service. “If you don’t want to have 1,000 individual arbitrations seeking to enjoin a $39 billion merger, don’t write such a sweeping contract,” he said. “Once you commit to that you’re stuck with it. And now AT&T needs to take its medicine.” Bursor clearly relishes taking on AT&T on these terms. Like most plaintiff lawyers, he mocks the idea that arbitration works for individual consumers, because the filing and legal costs are too high for any lawyer to consider taking on a case where the stakes may be less than $100. Aggregated into a class action, such a case is interesting to a lawyer; on their own, they’re a distraction.
So, how is arbitration going for the unlimited bandwidth customers who have recently had their access to streaming data cut off after 3.4 GB of data? Anyone winning?