Pitfalls and Certifications on the Use of ChatGPT in Court Filings

Two interesting developments on attorney use of ChatGPT in court filings:

A New York attorney is facing sanctions for using ChatGPT in an affidavit that he submitted without checking the accuracy of the information it provided.  From Business Insider:

“Six of the submitted cases appear to be bogus judicial decisions with bogus quotes and bogus internal citations,” [Judge Kevin] Castel wrote… Neither the lawyers for the airline nor Castel himself were able to find the cases mentioned in the affidavit.

On Thursday, [the attorney] apologized to Castel, adding that he had never used the AI tool before and was unaware of the possibility that its content could be false,”  the Times reported.

And, now, a Northern District of Texas judge is requiring a mandatory certification regarding generative AI to help prevent this from happening in his court.

All attorneys appearing before the Court must file on the docket a certificate attesting either that no portion of the filing was drafted by generative artificial intelligence (such as ChatGPT, Harvey.AI, or Google Bard) or that any language drafted by generative artificial intelligence was checked for accuracy, using print reporters or traditional legal databases, by a human being.

These platforms are incredibly powerful and have many uses in the law: form divorces, discovery requests, suggested errors in documents, anticipated questions at oral argument. But legal briefing is not one of them…

Accordingly, the Court will strike any filing from an attorney who fails to file a certificate on the docket attesting that the attorney has read the Court’s judge-specific requirements and understands that he or she will be held responsible under Rule 11 for the contents of any filing that he or she signs and submits to the Court, regardless of whether generative artificial intelligence drafted any portion of that filing.