Lawyers suing Colombian airline Avianca submit a brief full of previous lawsuits done via ChatGPT, The New York Times reported today. After opposing counsel pointed out the non-existent charges, US District Judge Kevin Castel affirmed, “Six of the submitted charges are bogus judicial decisions with false citations and false internal documents. citation,” and set up a hearing as he considered sanctions for the plaintiff’s attorneys. .
Attorney Steven A. Schwartz admitted in an affidavit that he used OpenAI’s chatbot for his research. To verify the charges, he did the only logical thing: he asked the chatbot if it was lying.
When he asked for a source, ChatGPT continued to apologize for the earlier confusion and insisted that the case was true, saying it could be found in Westlaw and LexisNexis. Satisfied, he asked if the other cases were fake, and ChatGPT maintained that they were all true.
Opposing counsel briefed the court on the issue in excruciating detail as it recounted how Levidow, Levidow and Oberman’s attorneys submitted a brief full of lies. In one example, a non-existent case called Varghese v. China Southern Airlines Co., Ltd., the chatbot appears to discuss another Granted case, Zicherman v. Korean Air Lines Co., Ltd., but got the date (and other details) wrong, saying it was decided 12 years after its original decision in 1996.
Schwartz says he is “aware of the possibility that its content may be false.” He now “deeply regrets the use of generative artificial intelligence to supplement the legal research conducted here and will never do so in the future without fully verifying its authenticity.”
Schwartz is not admitted to practice in the Southern District of New York but originally filed the case before it was moved to court and says he continues to work on it. Another attorney at the same firm, Peter LoDuca, became the attorney of record in the case, and he had to appear before the judge to explain what happened.
However, here’s the judge pointing out all the ways the attorney’s brief was an outright lie: