Fictitious Defendants

n. During the course of a lawsuit, if unknown persons or entities exist which were involved in the incident or the business being sued. Usually identified as “Doe 1” or “Green and Red Company” with an inclusion in the complaint that if and when the unidentified defendants are identified, they will be included in the complaint. By including fictitious defendants in a lawsuit, the statute of limitations is kept from expiring despite the fact that the true name is not known. If during an investigation or discovery phase, new information is located about a potential defendant, the real name may be substituted and the person is served with a summons and complaint. If the unnamed defendants are not identified by the time of the trial, then the case continues without them.

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