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A lawyer used ChatGPT and now has to answer for its ‘bogus’ citations

Lawyers suing Colombian airline Avianca presented a brief filled with past cases that were just made by ChatGPT, the new York Times Notified today. After opposing counsel pointed to the non-existent cases, US District Judge Kevin Castel affirmed, “Six of the cases presented appear to be bogus judicial decisions with bogus citations and bogus internal citations,” and held the hearing Established as he considers restrictions for plaintiffs’ attorneys.

Attorney Steven A. Schwartz acknowledged in an affidavit that he used OpenAI’s chatbot for his research. To verify matters, she did the only reasonable thing: She asked the chatbot if it was lying.

This case is not going very well.
Image: SDNY

When he asked for a source, ChatGPT apologized for the earlier confusion and stated that the matter was genuine and that it could be found on Westlaw and LexisNexis. Satisfied, he asked if the other cases were fake, and ChatGPT said they were all genuine.

Opposing counsel expounded the issue to the court in painstaking detail as it explained how the submissions of Levido, Levido and Oberman attorneys were riddled with lies. In one instance, a non-existent case called Verghese v. China Southern Airlines Co., Ltd., the chatbot appeared as another reference. Real Zuckerman 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 says he was “unaware of the possibility that its contents may be false.” He now “profoundly regrets using generative artificial intelligence to supplement the legal research conducted here and will never do so again in the future without full verification of its authenticity.”

Schwartz is not admitted to practice in the Southern District of New York, but took it to that court before he originally filed the lawsuit and said he continues to work on it. Another attorney from the same firm, Peter Loducka, became the attorney of record for the case, and would have to appear before the judge to explain exactly what happened.

Anyway, here’s the judge pointing out all the ways the attorney’s brief said it was a complete lie:

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