Legal definition of fictitious defendant
General Civil Litigation Legal Terminology

fictitious defendant

is a real person a plaintiff believes it has a cause of action against in a lawsuit who, for one reason or another, cannot be identified by the plaintiff before a lawsuit is commenced.
Because it is not always possible for a Plaintiff to identify all Defendants before Statute of limitations runs out, the Plaintiff identifies unknown Defendants as John Doe and Jane Doe
If no real names identified by the time of trial, Jane Doe and John Doe later dismissed from the case.
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