Two US lawyers fined for submitting fake court citations from ChatGPT

The Guardian

Law firm also penalised after chatbot invented six legal cases that were then used in an aviation injury claim

A US judge has fined two lawyers and a law firm $5,000 (£3,935) after fake citations generated by ChatGPT were submitted in a court filing.

A district judge in Manhattan ordered Steven Schwartz, Peter LoDuca and their law firm Levidow, Levidow & Oberman to pay the fine after fictitious legal research was used in an aviation injury claim.

Schwartz had admitted that ChatGPT, a chatbot that churns out plausible text responses to human prompts, invented six cases he referred to in a legal brief in a case against the Colombian airline Avianca.

The judge P Kevin Castel said in a written opinion there was nothing “inherently improper” about using artificial intelligence for assisting in legal work, but lawyers had to ensure their filings were accurate.

“Technological advances are commonplace and there is nothing inherently improper about using a reliable artificial intelligence tool for assistance,” Castel wrote. “But existing rules impose a gatekeeping role on attorneys to ensure the accuracy of their filings.”

The judge said the lawyers and their firm “abandoned their responsibilities when they submitted nonexistent judicial opinions with fake quotes and citations created by the artificial intelligence tool ChatGPT, then continued to stand by the fake opinions after judicial orders called their existence into question.”

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