World's 'first robot lawyer' sued by US-based law firm for operating without degree
The AI-powered app DoNotPay. created by a California-based tech company, has been dubbed "the world's first robot lawyer."
Published: 26th March 2023 01:05 PM | Last Updated: 26th March 2023 01:05 PM | A+A A-
The world's first robot lawyer, DoNotPay, has been sued by a well-known US law firm for practising law without a license.
The chatbot-style tool is centred around making legal information and 'self-help' accessible to support consumers fighting against large corporations.
The AI, which runs on a smartphone will give instructions to its client on what to say and how to react through an earpiece.
The robot lawyer was reported to defend its client in a US court in two cases related to speeding.
DoNotPay, the California-based start-up, was accused of operating without a law degree.
Who sued for what?
Jonathan Faridian, a customer who had subscribed to DoNotPay's services had used to write a series of legal documents like a demand letter, a small claims court filing and a job discrimination complaint.
However, Faridian alleges that he only received 'substandard' results while he was under the impression that the legal document was sourced from a 'competent lawyer', reported Business Insider.
A class-action lawsuit filed by Faridian's lawyers would include all paying DoNotPay customers in the state of California.
The suit entails that Plaintiff (Faridian) and the Class "paid a subscription fee" for DoNotPay's services.
"Had Plaintiff and the Class known that Defendant’s (DoNotPay) conduct was unlawful, they would not have paid the asking price for Defendant’s services at all or would have paid less," the suit read.
Further, the lawsuit adds, "Plaintiff and the Class members are entitled to CLASS ACTION COMPLAINT" and is seeking "restitution of all amounts paid to Defendant in connection with its unlawful provision of unlicensed legal services."
Faridian was represented by the Chicago-based law firm, Edelson which claimed that it is unlawful to defend in court trials without a law degree.
"Unfortunately for its customers, DoNotPay is not actually a robot, a lawyer, or a law firm. DoNotPay does not have a law degree, is not barred in any jurisdiction, and is not supervised by any lawyer," Edelson said in an official statement.
The file continued that one customer, who posted an online review, used DoNotPay's legal services to dispute two parking tickets. According to his account, his fines actually increased because DoNotPay failed to respond to the ticket summons. The customer then cancelled his account, but DoNotPay continued charging in the name a subscription fee.
It further said, "DoNotPay's service then reversed another customer's arguments in her parking ticket dispute. Where she had intended to argue she was not at fault, DoNotPay's services instead admitted to her being at fault, and the customer was made to pay a fine of USD 114."
Browder claimed that DoNotPay is 'the world’s first robot lawyer' and 'an alternative and inexpensive solution to lawyers.' But, the lawyers have accused the artificial intelligence initiative of being “a technology company that manipulates users and acts like a lawyer.”
Many complaints complained about paying more than double the amount they should have paid to the court because of the advice of artificial intelligence
Reacting that DoNotPay received more than 90 per cent bad reviews on the internet and social media as “a failed attempt and a large-scale fraud”, the lawyers judged the CEO of the company with the crimes of “fraud by persuasion” and “informatics fraud.”
In addition, the documents submitted to the court alleged that there would be no problem if the artificial intelligence were described as a “legal adviser” instead of a lawyer, but that the company deliberately lied to market this software in a manipulative way.
DoNotPay reacts to accusations
However, Joshua Browder, the founder of DoNotPay responded to the lawsuit on his personal Twitter account.
He rejected it by saying that the 'claims have no merit'.
Browder alleged that Edelson made a fortune suing companies and attacked Jay Edelson by saying that he inspired the 'DoNotPay' start-up because he symbolizes everything that is wrong with the law.
He added, " DoNotPay robot lawyer wanted to empower consumers and to take corporations on their own."
Bad news! Jay Edelson, America's richest class action lawyer, is suing my startup @DoNotPay in California. Mr Edelson, who has made billions suing companies, is attacking us for "unauthorized practice of law" and seeking a court order ending any A.I product.— Joshua Browder (@jbrowder1) March 9, 2023
Here's my response: pic.twitter.com/6PvFVW65rB
"We are start-ups and things happen. If you have any customer services issue, you can even call at 2 am," he added.
"So we are fighting back. We have our receipts and we have nothing to hide. We might even use our robot lawyer in the case," said Browder
Browder first created DoNotPay in 2015 to help defendants with parking tickets and later extended its services to deal with other legal services.