Multinational telecommunications giant AT&T will reportedly drop its $1.4 million lawsuit against a Massachusetts business owner if he agrees to drop his countersuit.
UPI reports that the phone carrier had originally sued Michael Smith of Ipswich, owner of Todd Tool and Abrasive Systems, for racking up a $891,470 phone bill in $22-a-minute calls to Somalia back in 2009.
According to the Smith, the calls were made by hackers who breached his company’s PBX phone system.
Smith tells the Salem News he repeatedly asked AT&T to write off the bill, but the company wouldn’t budge. He said if he was forced to pay it, his company would close and his 14 employees would lose their jobs.
In retaliation, Smith counter-sued AT&T, alleging abuse of the legal process and violation of state consumer-protection laws.
“They put me through hell for three years,” Smith said.
In a filing in federal court in Boston on Monday, however, AT&T requested that its complaint be dropped.
“AT&T filed its complaint in this action in good faith, but has decided not to continue pursuit of this action,” the filing said, giving Smith until 5pm Monday to drop his counter-suit.
After asking for an extension — to discuss the matter with his lawyers and family before making a decision — Monday, Smith has decided against dropping his claim.
“Todd Tool has expended significant resources defending AT&T’s claim, and its owners have decided that they are unwilling to dismiss the counterclaim at this time,” said attorney Donna Mandriota.
Smith’s attorneys added AT&T’s lawsuit was filed in spite of the fact AT&T was aware the calls were “neither initiated nor authorized” by Todd Tool, which was never a customer of AT&T’s.
via Boston Herald
Image: Clinton Herald