The lawyers who filed the lawsuit against Columbian airline Avianca submitted a brief full of previous lawsuits that just made of via ChatGPT, The New York Times reported today. After opposing counsel pointed out the non-existent cases, US District Judge Kevin Castel confirmed, “Six of the submitted cases appear to be false judicial decisions with false citations and false internals that 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 cases, he did the only reasonable thing: he asked the chatbot if it was lying.
When he asked for a source, ChatGPT apologized for the earlier confusion and insisted the case was real, 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 real.
Opposing counsel briefed the court on the issue in excruciating detail as it recounted how the submission of Levidow, Levidow and Oberman’s attorneys was a brief full of lies. In one example, a non-existent case called Varghese v. China Southern Airlines Co., Ltd., the chatbot appears to refer to another true 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 1996 decision.
Schwartz said he was “aware of the possibility that its content could be false.” He now “deeply regrets using generative artificial intelligence to supplement the legal research conducted here and will never do so in the future without full verification of its authenticity.”
Schwartz is not admitted to practice in the Southern District of New York but originally filed the lawsuit before it was transferred to that court and said he continued to work there. Another attorney at the same firm, Peter LoDuca, was the attorney of record in the case, and he had to appear before the judge to explain what happened.
Anyway, here’s the judge pointing out all the ways the attorney’s brief is a complete lie: