Phony ChatGPT Brief Leads to $5,000 Fine for NY Lawyers

From Bloomberg Law:

The lawyers behind a court brief filled with phony case citations dreamed up by ChatGPT were fined $5,000 after a federal judge found they’d acted in bad faith.

US District Judge P. Kevin Castel imposed the fine Thursday on the law firm Levidow, Levidow & Oberman P.C., finding that two of the firm’s lawyers had consciously avoided indications that the citations were fake and made “misleading statements to the court.”

The firm and the lawyers, Steven Schwartz and Peter LoDuca, “abandoned their responsibilities when they submitted non-existent 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,” Castel said in a written opinion.

A phone call seeking comment from the law firm wasn’t immediately returned.

Schwartz and LoDuca filed the brief on behalf of Roberto Mata, a client who claimed he’d been injured on a 2019 flight from El Salvador to New York. Castel imposed the fine following a June 8 hearing in which he questioned Schwartz, LoDuca and Levidow’s sole equity partner, Thomas Corvino, about the faulty court filing.

Castel on Thursday also threw out Mata’s suit, ruling it was filed too late.

In addition to the fine, Castel ordered the lawyers to send his opinion and a transcript of the June 8 hearing to Mata and to each of the judges falsely identified as authors of six fictitious court opinions cited in the brief.

“The Court will not require an apology from respondents because a compelled apology is not a sincere apology,” Castel said in his ruling. “Any decision to apologize is left to respondents.”

The case is Mata v. Avianca, 22-cv-01461, US District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

Link to the rest at Bloomberg Law

PG suggests that counsel for the plaintiff, Schwartz and LoDuca, got off easy in court. with a $5,000 fine.

2 thoughts on “Phony ChatGPT Brief Leads to $5,000 Fine for NY Lawyers”

  1. The real consequences will be for their future business.

    One might suppose that any client stupid enough to hire a lawyer like that is stupid enough to save on legal fees by hiring ChatGPT directly.

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