Just a few weeks ago, I wrote about two more cases of AI-hallucinated citations in court filings leading to sanctions, and now comes the case of a Florida lawyer suspended from practice after filing cases that were “completely fabricated.”

On March 8, the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida suspended attorney Thomas Grant Neusom from practicing in that court for one year, after which he will be eligible to apply for reinstatement.

In  ordering the suspension, the court adopted the report and recommendation of its grievance committee, which issued a report in January finding that Neusom violated rules of the court and Florida’s Rules of Professional Conduct through a series of actions, including having filed pleadings that contained frivolous legal arguments based on fabricated cases.

The matter was brought to the attention of the disciplinary committee after Neusom’s opposing counsel, Nabil Joseph, was unable to find the cases and asked Neusom to furnish text versions. Neusom “provided non-responsive and evasive answers to the request for the cited authorities,” according to the committee.

When the committee asked Neusom about the pleadings during a telephone interview, he said that “he used Westlaw and Fastcase and may have used artificial intelligence to draft the filing(s) but was not able to check the excerpts and citations.” In a subsequent written response, he failed to offer any explanation for the fabricated cases “or provide any sense of understanding of the seriousness of the situation.”

Based on this, the committee found that Neusom had not only failed to exercise the reasonable due diligence required of an attorney, but that his conduct went “beyond a lack of due diligence as some of his legal authorities were completely fabricated.”

“Whereas we understand that artificial intelligence is becoming a new tool for legal research, it can never take the place of an attorney’s responsibility to conduct reasonable diligence and provide accurate legal authority to the Court that supports a valid legal argument,” the committee wrote.

Based on the committee’s recommendations, Senior U.S. District Judge John E. Steele issued an order March 8 suspending Neusom from practice in that court for one year.

Photo of Bob Ambrogi Bob Ambrogi

Bob is a lawyer, veteran legal journalist, and award-winning blogger and podcaster. In 2011, he was named to the inaugural Fastcase 50, honoring “the law’s smartest, most courageous innovators, techies, visionaries and leaders.” Earlier in his career, he was editor-in-chief of several legal publications, including The National Law Journal, and editorial director of ALM’s Litigation Services Division.