So I was in DC last week, and, shockingly, offline for most of it.

We’ve missed a few things while I was gone:

  • The judge in the Mata v. Avianca Inc. litigation, better known as the case with the ChatGPT lawyers, has sanctioned said ChatGPT lawyers $5,000 and ordered them to send their client and, curiously, the judges “falsely identified as the author of the fake . . . opinions” the sanctions order, the transcript of the motion hearing, and the April 25 affirmation containing the fake opinions.

    One of the main reasons harsher sanctions (including disciplinary referrals, attorney fees, or revocation of the federal court admission) were not imposed was because, more or less, the attorneys had suffered enough through the bad publicity (see Paragraph 32). It is extremely unlikely that these attorneys will repeat this conduct.

  • Most of the sanctions against the Kraken lawyers (remember them?) who tried to overturn the 2020 election in Michigan were upheld. These sanctions included attorney fees, continuing legal education classes, and disciplinary referrals to the attorneys’ respective state agencies. The Sixth Circuit did reverse sanctions against two lesser-involved lawyers; the panel determined they did not do significant work on the matter. The monetary sanctions against Lin Wood were also reduced, but the disciplinary referral remained in place. State disciplinary agencies can do what they want with that.

    As it is always election season, I guess we’ll soon learn whether these sanctions are sufficient to deter this conduct in the future. I have my suspicions.

    Both of the above cases were handled at least in part by nerd friends from APRL—speaking of which, we have merch now and you should get some. You need an “Ethics Nerd” hoodie or wine tumbler.

  • The disbarment trial of John Eastman in California (again for trying to overturn the 2020 election) began last week. What is fascinating about California bar discipline is that they maintain online dockets with publicly downloadable documents. I can’t seem to link directly to the Eastman docket, but you can search for it here.

    The Dreaded Local Angle on this one is that former Supreme Court Justice and current target of Office of Lawyer Regulation investigation Michael Gableman was on Eastman’s witness list. The trial was pushed back to tomorrow due to counsel illness, so we’ll see how this plays out.

    So, what else did I miss?