Class action lawsuit against “robot attorney” DoNotPay

(Reuters) – DoNotPay Inc, which it says uses artificial intelligence to help consumers and bills itself as “the world’s first robot lawyer,” is facing a new lawsuit from a prominent law firm saying the company is operating without a license works as a lawyer.

DoNotPay “is not actually a robot, nor an attorney, nor a law firm,” Chicago-based law firm Edelson said in a proposed class action lawsuit filed March 3 in San Francisco state court, published Thursday on the court’s public website.

Edelson filed the case on behalf of California resident Jonathan Faridian, who said he used San Francisco-based DoNotPay to draft collection letters, small claims court proceedings and LLC operating agreements, and got “poor and poorly made” results achieved.

DoNotPay CEO Joshua Browder responded on Thursday on Twitter, saying the claims were “baseless” and that Faridian had “led dozens of successful consumer rights cases with DoNotPay.”

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Browder said Edelson founder Jay Edelson “inspired me to start DoNotPay,” claiming Edelson and attorneys like him thrive on class action lawsuits with little benefit to consumers.

Edelson did not comment immediately.

Browder founded DoNotPay in 2015 with a focus on work like fighting parking tickets and expanded it to include some legal services, the lawsuit says.

The promise of generative artificial intelligence tools for applications like legal work has gained momentum in recent months with the rise of OpenAI’s ChatGPT and other AI “chatbots”. DoNotPay caused a stir earlier this year when Browder said on Twitter the company had plans to use an AI chatbot to counsel a defendant in a traffic court.

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Browder also said his company would pay $1 million to anyone willing to wear headphones and use his robotic attorney in a dispute before the US Supreme Court.

After criticism, he later said on Twitter that he had received “threats from prosecutors” and that DoNotPay would postpone its traffic trial.

He also said in the January tweet that DoNotPay would immediately remove “non-consumer legal products.” According to the lawsuit, those products are still available on its website.

The lawsuit alleges that DoNotPay violated California’s unfair competition law by engaging in the unauthorized legal practice. She is seeking a court order declaring the company’s conduct to be unlawful and unspecified damages.

The case is Faridian v. DoNotPay Inc, California State Superior Court for the County of San Francisco, No. CGC-23-604987.

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Sarah Remember

Thomson Reuters

Sara Merken reports on privacy and data security and legal business, including legal innovations and key players in the legal services industry. You can reach her at [email protected]