A lawyer used ChatGPT and now has to answer for the ‘fake’ citations

Lawyers suing Colombian airline Avianca filed a letter full of previous cases that were just invented by ChatGPT, The New York Times reported today. After opposing counsel pointed out the non-existent cases, U.S. District Judge Kevin Castel affirmed, “Six of the cases filed appear to be false court decisions with false citations and false internal citations,” and set up a hearing while seeking sanctions for the plaintiff’s attorneys. .

Attorney Steven A. Schwartz admitted in a statement that he had used OpenAI’s chatbot for his research. To verify the cases, he did the only reasonable thing: he asked the chatbot if he was lying.

This case isn’t going very well.
Image: SDNY

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

Opposing counsel informed the court of the matter in embarrassing detail when he told the submission of Levidow’s attorneys, Levidow & Oberman, a short story full of lies. In one example, a nonexistent case called Varghese v. China Southern Airlines Co., Ltd., the chatbot appeared to refer to another Real case, Zicherman v Korean Air Lines Co., Ltd.but got the date (and other details) wrong, saying it was decided 12 years after the original 1996 decision.

Schwartz says he was “not aware of the possibility that the content could be counterfeit.” He now deeply regrets having used generative artificial intelligence to supplement the legal research conducted herein and will never do so in the future without absolute verification of its authenticity.

Schwartz is not allowed to practice in New York’s Southern District, but originally filed the lawsuit before it was moved to that court and says he has continued to work on it. Another attorney at the same firm, Peter LoDuca, became the attorney for the case and he will have to appear in court to explain exactly what happened.

Anyway, here’s the judge pointing out all the ways the attorney’s order was an absolute lie party: