The Volokh Conspiracy

Mostly law professors | Sometimes contrarian | Often libertarian | Always independent

AI in Court

Another Example of a Lawyer-Filed Brief That Apparently Includes Citations Hallucinated by AI


From the Table of Authorities (Cases) section of appellant's opening brief (left) and the amended appellant's opening brief (right) in Laguna HW, LLC v. Wilson; each lists all the cases filed in that brief:

The revised version is what appears to be the result of pruning all the AI-hallucinated citations. Or so theorizes the respondent's brief, which says, "Appellants likely used artificial intelligence to draft the opening brief, which is known to invent legal citations out of whole cloth." This is the 11th such case I found this year (cf. this federal case, and the state cases discussed herehere, and here—all involving documents filed by lawyers—plus the six federal self-represented litigant cases discussed here.)

The appellant's motion to strike (filed well before the Respondent's Brief) doesn't mention AI or otherwise explain the reason for the fake citations:

Appellants submit this Motion to Strike their Opening Brief and for Leave to File Amended Opening Brief to correct errors mistakenly included in the initial filing. As set forth below and in the accompanying declaration of counsel, the filed Opening Brief included portions of a working document that do not reflect Appellants' statement on the law and were erroneously included in the final brief. This motion seeks only the striking of those portions of Appellant's Opening Brief. No new arguments or citations are sought, and because there are still at least six weeks before Respondent's brief is due, there is no chance of prejudice to Respondent….

Upon recent review of the filed brief, Appellants' counsel discovered material in the brief that was absolutely never intended for submission to the Court, and should be disregarded and omitted. As set forth in the supporting Declaration of Appellants' counsel, portions of a working and research document never intended for submission were erroneously included in the filing submission. Accordingly, this Motion seeks to eliminate the inapt portions of the Opening Brief by striking the originally-filed Appellants' Opening Brief and filing the submitted Amended Appellants' Opening Brief.

Note, by the way, that the appellants felt that they couldn't add new material to replace the citations they had to delete ("the Amended Opening Brief does not include any new facts, arguments, positions, or citations"), so that was a considerable cost of the original error.