AT&T has prevailed in a legal action brought about by notable cryptocurrency investor Michael Terpin almost six years ago. Terpin claimed that he had lost millions of dollars’ worth of digital assets as a result of a hack that involved SIM-swapping.
According to a document that was submitted by the Central District Court of California last week, AT&T’s motion for Summary Judgment was granted. This indicates that the judge found in favor of the telecoms giant without their being a need for a trial to take place.
Judge Hon. Otis D. Wright II, who is presiding over the case, came to the conclusion that there is no evidence to support Terpin’s claims against AT&T, which means that AT&T is released from responsibility for losses and damages.
In the middle of 2017, hackers changed Terpin’s phone number to deflect calls and texts after they bribed an AT&T employee to exchange his SIM settings with their own. They did this after they had gotten the employee to swap Terpin’s SIM settings with their own.
The cybercriminals were able to reset passwords and transmit two-factor authentication messages to a new phone, which they then used to steal $24 million worth of cryptocurrency. Later, in 2018, Terpin initiated legal action against AT&T, arguing that the firm had been negligent in its duty to prevent the attack and identity theft.
In addition to being an investor in cryptocurrencies and a business owner, Terpin is a co-founder of both the blockchain public relations firm Transform Group and the cryptocurrency investor network BitAngels. He is also a member of the Bitcoin Foundation.
The investor had requested compensation for the loss of his cryptocurrency, in addition to punitive damages that amounted to almost $240 million in total. Terpin’s lawsuit against the corporation contained, among other things, accusations that the company was negligent, that they broke the contract, and that they violated the Communications Act.
On February 24, 2020, Judge Wright II granted parts of Terpin’s motions for partial summary judgment, which means that he was granted permission to continue partially pursuing his claims even after AT&T was granted a partial dismissal of the case.
At that time, the court had determined that Terpin had developed a “special connection” with AT&T, which may have resulted in the business paying him “economic damages” for negligence or breach of contract. This was the finding that was made by the court.
Instead of finding merit in the plaintiff’s claims, the court has instead ordered that the investor be prevented from obtaining any damages and that all dates and deadlines related to the case be vacated. This is in place of finding that the plaintiff’s allegations have some validity.
This instance highlights the importance of users giving careful consideration to the self-custody of assets, gaining an awareness of crypto wallets, and implementing appropriate risk management strategies such as the utilization of multi-signature schemes.