The difficulty associated with holding large corporations accountable for minute infractions is a significant obstacle to justice in our legal system. The rise of class action lawsuits has helped this problem, but an even quicker and easier avenue is now available.

Do Not Pay is a free iOS application that allows users to “sue anyone by pressing a button.” The app was released on October 10, 2018 and asks users a series of basic legal questions to identify their issue. The app can draw up documents to file a complaint and even gives users a script to read if they are required to appear in court.

The app was engineered by Joshua Browder, who created it to assist in fighting the numerous parking tickets he received as a teenager. The app is not specifically targeted towards small claims, and covers various fields for legal recourse including late package deliveries, unfair bank fees, and rideshare refunds.

This is a fantastic way to combat the economic aspect of litigation that commonly prevents recourse for disputes. Whether an individual cannot afford legal counsel, or the rewards are too slim for the hassle, the litigation process severely burdens plaintiffs that will not, or cannot, pay for legal services. You would be hard-pressed to find anyone who would oppose affordable legal services for those that could not ordinarily afford them (except potentially the corporations that are now being held accountable).

While having the basic resources to navigate a legal claim would undoubtedly help certain people (especially those who would have filed a claim pro se), we should question the quality of such services. Lawyers have not already been replaced by robots due to the creative reasoning and unique solutions that a human lawyer can offer. A lazy or penny-pinching plaintiff could be losing out on thousands of dollars by accepting one-size-fits-all legal advice for their claim through this app.

The Do Not Pay app will surely be useful for certain types of claims: small claims which might not reward handsomely, but are worthwhile for the required time and effort. However, potential users should have scruples: with the app in such an early stage, we do not know the quality of legal services for all situations without further information or analysis. The advancement of affordable legal resources is a promising sign, but plaintiffs should be aware of the uncertainties surrounding the Do Not Pay app.

Michael Kushner

 

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