Robot Lawyer DoNotPay Is Being Sued For Being A Robot And Not A Lawyer
DoNotPay Inc, which touts itself as “the world’s first robot lawyer” and claims to utilize artificial intelligence to assist consumers, is facing a new lawsuit from a major plaintiffs’ law firm, which claims the company is practicing law without a license.
Jonathan Faridian of Yolo County filed a case in San Francisco Superior Court on Tuesday seeking damages for claimed violations of California’s unfair competition law, claiming that he would not have subscribed if he knew DoNotPay was not genuinely a lawyer.
The complaint was brought on Faridian’s behalf by the Chicago-based law firm Edelson, who said the complainant engaged the San Francisco-based DoNotPay to create demand letters, a small claims court filing, and LLC operating agreements and received “substandard and poorly done” results.
“Providing legal services to the public, without being a lawyer or even supervised by a lawyer is reckless and dangerous. And it has real world consequences for the customers it hurts,” Faridian argued.
Faridian asks the court to certify a class on behalf of all those who have acquired a DoNotPay membership.
On Thursday, DoNotPay CEO Joshua Browder responded on Twitter, stating the charges have “no merit” and that Faridian has “had dozens of successful consumer rights cases with DoNotPay.” He added that Edelson “inspired” him to start the AI-powered product because the lawyer “symbolizes everything wrong with the law.”
The latest development follows the expected debut of DoNotPay in court last month. However, Browder backed down due to multiple threats of possible prosecution and jail time.
“Multiple state bars have threatened us,” Browder said. “One even said a referral to the district attorney’s office and prosecution and prison time would be possible.”
Who is Joshua Browder?
Then 19-year old Browder, a Stanford dropout who got fed up with his 30 parking fines, started DoNotPay in 2015. He believed that there should be a means to bridge the gap between ordinary people and simple legal processes.
DoNotPay began as a parking ticket contesting app and has now expanded to provide services for a variety of legal issues such as consumer protection, immigration rights, refunds, free trial cancellations, lawsuits, and so on.
The firm raised $10 million in 2021 from investors including Andreessen Horowitz and the infamous Sam Bankman-Fried at a $210 million valuation.
Browder and DoNotPay may have received the greatest media attention during the recent ChatGPT trend, when he declared that DoNotPay will provide the first robot lawyer to defend a client in a live situation. The AI bot would listen to the case and generate comments, which the client would hear through AirPods and repeat in front of the court.
Browder stated that he would pay $1 million to anyone who wore AirPods and allowed the robot lawyer to plead the case.
The Supreme Court prohibits the use of electronic devices in the courtroom when the Court is in session. But, Browder had planned to use hearing accessibility standards as a loophole.
A text message request for comment on the latest lawsuit to Browder was swiftly responded with a text purported to be a “DoNotPay spokeswoman.”
“DoNotPay denies the false allegations. It is unsurprising that a lawyer who has made hundreds of millions is suing an AI service that costs $18 for ‘unauthorized practice of law.’ We look forward to defending ourselves in court,” said the message.
Now, we await if DoNotPay will be represented by DoNotPay in court.
Information for this briefing was found via Reuters, CBS News, and the sources mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.