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That One Time ChatGPT Landed a Lawyer in Hot Water for False Legal Research



Since its introduction in November 2022, ChatGPT has garnered widespread acclaim for its versatility, aiding users in tasks ranging from essay writing to code solving. However, concerns have arisen regarding its potential to disseminate misinformation, leading to unforeseen consequences.

The Incident:

Tech experts caution that ChatGPT’s capability to confidently provide factually incorrect information, akin to ‘hallucinating’, poses risks of spreading misinformation. Recently, a lawyer in New York found himself in hot water after relying on ChatGPT for legal research, resulting in an unprecedented courtroom debacle.

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The Players Involved:

The lawyer facing the court hearing is Peter LoDuca, while his colleague, Steven A Schwartz, utilized ChatGPT for legal research. Despite Schwartz’s extensive experience as an advocate for over 30 years, the use of OpenAI’s tool led to unforeseen repercussions.

The Fallout:

In an ongoing case involving a man suing an airline, LoDuca’s legal team submitted a brief referencing previous court cases. However, the airline’s lawyers raised objections, revealing that several of the cited cases could not be found. This revelation prompted a judicial inquiry, terming the situation as “unprecedented.”

The Response:

Schwartz, when questioned, expressed regret over relying on ChatGPT and pledged to refrain from using AI for legal research without absolute verification. In a written statement, he clarified that LoDuca was not involved in the research process.


This incident underscores the importance of exercising caution when relying on AI tools for critical tasks, emphasizing the need for thorough verification of information. As ChatGPT continues to evolve, users must remain vigilant to prevent similar instances of misinformation dissemination.

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