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USA. American lawyers used ChatGPT to create arguments before the court

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A U.S. federal judge dismissed the lawsuit and fined the plaintiff’s lawyers $5,000 after they used ChatGPT to investigate court records that cited six bogus cases concocted by an artificial intelligence tool created by OpenAI.

Attorneys Steven Schwartz and Peter LoDuca of the law firm Levidow, Levidow and Oberman “abandoned their duties the moment they submitted non-existent court opinions with fake quotes created by the artificial intelligence tool ChatGPT, and then maintained their veracity after court orders raised doubts about the their credibility,” the district judge wrote USA Kevin Castel in the ruling.

The judge wrote that the attorneys “presented false cases and legal arguments” even “after their opponent informed them that the citations they presented did not exist and could not be found.”

The judge accused the lawyers of wasting his time

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According to ArsTechnica, the judge imposed one fine of $5,000 to be paid by the two lawyers and their firm as joint and several liability. More embarrassingly for the lawyers, they are required to send letters to the six real judges who have been “wrongly identified as the authors of false” opinions cited in their statutes. Castel described the legal analysis presented in one of the fake cases as “gibberish”.

Judge Castel imposed an obligation to inform them of the situation, while stating that “the court will not require an apology from the defendants because a forced apology is not a sincere apology.”

The judge said presenting false statements in court harms the attorneys’ client, wastes court time and forces the opposing party to waste “time and money exposing fraud”. In addition, it causes “potential damage to the reputation of judges and courts whose names are falsely invoked as authors of false opinions and the reputation of other participants in fictitious proceedings,” wrote Judge Castel.

“It promotes cynicism towards the legal profession and the American judicial system. And a future trial participant may be tempted to defy a court decision by falsely claiming to have doubts about its authenticity,” he said in the judgment.

Lawyer says he didn’t know ChatGPT was making it up

Schwartz admitted that he used ChatGPT to conduct research for the trial and did not verify the content presented to him by the tool. In an affidavit, the lawyer stated that he had “never used ChatGPT as a source for legal research prior to this incident and therefore was unaware that the content presented by the bot could be false.”

– I just didn’t think the case could be fabricated, so I didn’t look at it from that point of view… My reaction was that ChatGPT finds the case somewhere. Maybe it’s unpublished. Perhaps it has been appealed. Maybe access is hard to come by. I just never thought he could come up with it,” Schwartz stated during the audition.

LoDuca was guilty of not checking the documents prepared by Schwartz.

The case of lawyers using fake quotes and legal opinions dragged on since March 1, when they presented them to the court. Judge Castel wrote that “the case might have turned out differently had the defendants admitted their actions shortly after receiving the March 15 letter from the defendant” which questioned the veracity of their evidence. The case could also not have happened if they had complied with the orders of the court, which on April 11 and 12 demanded the presentation of the details of the case. They admitted to the truth only on May 25.

Main photo source: Tada Images / Shutterstock

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