On Tuesday, January 30, 2024, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit issued a ruling referring Attorney Jae S. Lee to the court’s Grievance Panel for investigation.
The case involved Minhye Park’s appeal of the dismissal of her lawsuit against David Dennis Kim. Park had repeatedly failed to meet discovery deadlines and comply with court orders over the course of the litigation. The Second Circuit upheld the district court’s dismissal of the case.
However, the ruling also addressed issues with the briefing submitted by Park’s attorney, Jae S. Lee. In a reply brief filed with the Second Circuit, Lee had cited a nonexistent state court case without verifying the accuracy of the citation. Lee admitted to using an AI legal assistant called ChatGPT to help find case law and acknowledged the case was suggested by ChatGPT but did not actually exist.
The court found that Lee’s conduct in citing a fabricated case without confirmation fell below the basic obligations of counsel. Attorneys are required under Rule 11 to confirm legal arguments are warranted by existing law after making a reasonable inquiry. Merely relying on AI suggestions without review does not satisfy the duty of reasonable investigation.
While the court recognized AI tools could have beneficial uses, an unverified fake citation provides no valid legal support. The ruling stated no new rule was needed, as attorneys already must ensure submissions are accurate.
As a result of the improper briefing, the Second Circuit referred Lee to its Grievance Panel for further review and potential referral to the Committee on Admissions and Grievances. Lee was also ordered to provide her client, Park, with a translation of the ruling and confirm she did so through a court filing.
Attorney Jae S. Lee was admitted to the New York State Bar and the United States Supreme Court. She is a member of the New York State Bar Association and Sports Lawyers Association, with practice areas in personal injury litigation, sports/entertainment law, and business law.
A copy of the original filing can be found here.