DoNotPay’s robot lawyer faces a new judicial setback. The artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot that set out to defend the most vulnerable consumers has received a class action lawsuit from the Edelson law firm for wanting to practice law without a university degree to back up her knowledge, according to the publication. Business Insider.
The complaint, filed in the Superior Court of the State of California for the County of San Francisco, argues that this particular lawyer does not have the necessary knowledge or supervision: “Unfortunately for its clients, DoNotPay is not actually a robot, an attorney or a law firm. DoNotPay does not have a law degree, is not prohibited in any jurisdiction, and is not supervised by any attorney.”
The suit has been filed under the name of Jonathan Faridian. This attorney explains that he had used DoNotPay to draft various legal documents: an employment discrimination complaint, a small claims court filing, and to draft various legal documents. The result, according to Faridian, was not satisfactory. On the contrary, he describes it as “deficient”.
The founder of DoNotPay has not hesitated to charge the plaintiff either. “Jay Edelson, the richest class action lawyer in America, is suing my startup DoNotPay in California. Mr. Edelson, who has made billions suing companies, is attacking us for ‘unauthorized practice of the law’ and is seeking an injunction to stop any AI products,” Joshua Browder tweeted.
In his plea, Browder claims that people like Edelson inspired him to found DoNotPay: “It symbolizes everything that is wrong with the law.” And he takes the opportunity to accuse him of making money at the expense of consumers. “In a recent Facebook deal, for example, he made $97.5 million. A minority of consumers earned $375 and the majority, who couldn’t fill out ‘complicated’ claim forms, got zero,” he argues.
The promoter of DoNotPay assures that he is not going to be intimidated by the “most feared lawyer in Silicon Valley”, because Edelson is behind some of the most successful lawsuits against Google, Amazon and Apple for billions. “The fight continues!” ends this businessman in a long thread on Twitter.
It is not the only judicial setback that this chatbot faces. Prosecutors from the State Bar Association have also taken action against this service, alleging that bringing a robot lawyer into a physical room, as intended by DoNotPay, is an unauthorized practice of the law, as well as constituting a misdemeanor in some states punishable by up to six months in jail.
DoNotPay, a lawyer that feeds on AI
DoNotPay, a chatbot founded by British-American businessman Joshua Browder, is dedicated to solving legal questions. The company assures that they are a kind of Robin Hood that is in charge of helping “consumers to fight against large corporations and solve their problems.”
This chatbot was originally created to dispute parking tickets, but has expanded to include other ambitious legal services as well. Among other issues, it is in charge of requesting international asylum, making insurance claims, applying for scholarships, assistance with rent, divorces and other minor administrative procedures.
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