Student's DoNotPay app expands to include pushbutton small claims lawsuits

Joshua Browder launched DoNotPay when he started his computer science degree at Stanford; at first the app automated the process of fighting traffic tickets, then it expanded to helping homeless people claim benefits, then he automated suing Equifax for leaking all your financial data, then navigating the airlines' deliberately confusing process for getting refunds on plane tickets whose prices drop after you buy them.

The latest iteration of DoNotPay includes pushbutton lawsuits in small claims court: it uses IBM Watson to automatically format lawsuits claiming up to $25,000 in damages, based on a quick series of simple questions. The idea is to give equal justice to individuals who have been wronged by big corporations whose legal muscle makes them too intimidating to sue through regular channels. The app also creates a script for you to read aloud in court.

Browder — now 21 — accepts donations and has received $1.1m in seed funding; he's contemplating charging down the line for more customized legal advice and services. His Equifax-suing tool racked up multiple victories for victims of Equifax's negligence, even when Equifax sent corporate attorneys to fight the suits.

The app works by having a bot ask the user a few basic questions about their legal issue. The bot then uses the answers to classify the case into one of 15 different legal areas, such as breach of contract or negligence. After that, Do Not Pay draws up documents specific to that legal area, and fills in the specific details. Just print it out, mail it to the courthouse, and violá—you're a plaintiff. And if you have to show up to court in person, Do Not Pay even creates a script for the plaintiff to read out loud in court.

New App Lets You 'Sue Anyone By Pressing a Button' [Caroline Haskins/Motherboard]