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U.S. Lawyers Sanctioned For Using An AI Chatbot To Generate Fake Case Citations

Updated: Jan 3

[Edited] A New York federal judge has imposed sanctions on lawyers who submitted a legal brief written by an artificial intelligence (A.I.) tool called ChatGPT.

Credits: REUTERS

The brief included citations of non-existent court cases and fake quotes, leading to severe consequences for the attorneys involved.

The attorneys, Peter LoDuca and Steven Schwartz, along with their law firm Levidow, Levidow & Oberman, were found to have "abandoned their responsibilities" when they submitted the A.I.-written brief in a lawsuit against Avianca airline. Judge P. Kevin Castel stated that they continued to stand by the fake opinions even after their existence was questioned by judicial orders.

As a result, Judge Castel ordered LoDuca, Schwartz, and their law firm to each pay a $5,000 fine. Additionally, they were instructed to notify each judge falsely identified as the author of the bogus case rulings about the sanctions imposed.

In his order in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, Judge Castel stated, "The Court will not require an apology from Respondents because a compelled apology is not a sincere apology. Any decision to apologize is left to Respondents."

In a separate order, Judge Castel granted Avianca's motion to dismiss the lawsuit filed by the attorneys on behalf of Roberto Mata. Mata claimed that his knee was severely injured during a flight from El Salvador to New York in August 2019 when he was hit by a metal service tray. However, the judge ruled that the suit was filed after the expiration of the two-year window allowed for legal claims related to international air travel under the Montreal Convention.

Judge Castel mentioned that he might not have sanctioned the attorneys if they had been transparent about their use of ChatGPT to create the brief opposing Avianca's motion to dismiss the suit. However, he criticized the lawyers for exhibiting "bad faith" by making false and misleading statements about the brief and its contents when concerns were raised about the authenticity of the legal citations.

While acknowledging that technological advances, including the use of reliable A.I. tools, are commonplace in legal research and drafting, Judge Castel emphasized the importance of attorneys taking on the gatekeeping role to ensure the accuracy of their filings.

nuine authors of the false cases, who were identified by the court, about the imposed sanctions.

  • Lawyers in New York have been sanctioned for submitting a legal brief written by an A.I. tool called ChatGPT, which included fake citations and quotes.

  • The attorneys, along with their law firm, have been ordered to pay a $5,000 fine each and notify the judges falsely identified as the authors of the bogus case rulings.

  • The judge stated that the lawyers abandoned their responsibilities and exhibited bad faith by standing by the fake opinions.

Source: CNBC

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