Matt Spaccarelli took AT&T to small claims court when it started throttling data for his iPhone, and he's come out with an $850 ruling in his favor, AP reports. Spaccarelli's data speeds were reportedly abated by AT&T after reaching between 1.5GB and 2GB of data usage in certain months, despite the fact that he was on a grandfathered unlimited data plan. AP says that the presiding judge found that it was unfair for AT&T to slow down Spaccarelli's data after selling him an "unlimited" plan, and that AT&T buried the throttling terms in his contract.
But the ruling doesn't necessarily mean that widespread legal troubles are on the way for the wireless Goliath. Last year, the Supreme Court ruled that AT&T can block class-action suits that stem from disputes with customers and instead force them into binding arbitration, which means that AT&T's aggrieved unlimited customers can only resort to arbitration or small claims proceedings. AP says that Spaccarelli researched his case for months, and then spent three days compiling a binder of documents for court — something that may be prohibitively time consuming for all but the most principled customers. He tells AP that "I need the money, but for me, this case is not about money at all. You don't tell somebody 'you have unlimited' and then cut them off." The courts may agree, but they'll have to do so for one customer at a time.