In personal injury and tort law, a fictitious defendant is an unknown party named in a lawsuit because the aggrieved party cannot properly identify the perpetrator. Courts and plaintiffs usually refer to a fictitious defendant like John Doe or Jane Doe. Again, fictitious defendants are often used when the plaintiff wants to initiate legal proceedings, but they cannot easily identify the person(s) they seek to hold liable for their violations at that time or before the statute of limitations expires. If you are a sole proprietor or partnership, a fictitious name gives you the opportunity to market your business under a more creative and persuasive name than the one you are legally allowed to use. In most states, you don`t need a fictitious name if you use your full personal name with a descriptive term to indicate the type of business you run. For example, if I started a coffee shop as a sole proprietorship, I would have to operate it under a name like „Nellie Akalp Coffee Company“. Not very eye-catching, right? But with a fictitious name approved by the state, I could use a smarter name – like „Café Harmony“ – to represent my company. Note that if I chose to use only my first name in my company`s name – „Nellie`s Coffee Company“ – I would have to submit a fictitious name. If your first and last name are not in your company name, you will need to apply for a DBA. There are many reasons why a plaintiff can bring an action for damages against a fictitious defendant.
For example, one of the main reasons for using fictitious defendants is that the plaintiff may try to comply with the relevant limitation period. Again, a statute of limitations is essentially the time limit for filing a case. Many bodily injuries, such as medical malpractice claims, often have a short filing period. When John Doe or Company X operates under the name „ABC Corporation“, they operate under a fictitious trade name (NBF) or trade name. A fictitious company name is a business name other than the full legal name of the person, the legal name of the company, or a name suggesting other owners („John Doe and Company“). The term „doing business as“ (which can be abbreviated as DBA, dba or d/b/a) is synonymous with a fictitious trade name. Would you like to submit a fictitious name? The clerk`s office is the central repository in Virginia for fictitious names. Log in online via the Information Officer (CIS). Luckily, you don`t have to worry just about the details. CorpNet has experience filing DBAs for businesses in all 50 states, and we`re here to help you apply correctly and cover all the bases. Contact us today to take care of all aspects related to the filing of your fictitious name. If a plaintiff includes a fictitious defendant in his claim, he may later amend the original pleading once he has learned of the party allegedly responsible for his violations.
It is important to note that federal courts do not allow the use of fictitious defendants, and state laws about fictitious defendants vary by state and jurisdiction. States require the filing of fictitious trade names because they help inform the public about who actually owns the company. A fictitious name request places the name of a business and the identity of its owner in the public record. With a reference to one of my family`s favorite movies, „The Wizard of Oz,“ a fictional name lets people know who „the man (or woman) behind the curtain“ is. It helps protect consumers from unknowingly doing business with a person or company that has a questionable reputation. Note that this means that your fictitious business name is protected from future users as soon as you register and keep the registration up to date. It is also the responsibility of the holder to ensure that the desired NBF is not already in use at the state and/or country level by checking the availability of the name with the Secretary of State and/or the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). For example, if I were to register my company as an LLC under the name „The Akalp Group, LLC,“ I would have to register a fictitious name for „Café Harmony“ if I wanted to run my coffee shop under that name. As you can see, naming fictitious defendants at the beginning of a legal dispute can sometimes lead to complications. So, if you don`t know exactly who is responsible for your injuries, you should contact an experienced personal injury lawyer. In certain circumstances, an LLC or company may also need or want fictitious names. For example, if you want to operate and market your business under a different name than the one you registered, you will need your LLC or business because you will need a DBA.
For this reason, many plaintiffs first name a fictitious defendant in their statement until they later determine which parties are responsible for their violation. Since a defendant must be named in a lawsuit, the use of a fictitious defendant allows a plaintiff to file the claim before the actual party can be fully named. What are the advantages of filing a DTA? For starters, it allows you to stay in compliance with the law. If you fail to register a business name as a fictitious name, when required by law, you may be fined, denied the right to enforce contracts, and even result in the closure of your business. The main advantage of the dba method is that it provides a relatively quick and inexpensive way to use a name that others can`t take from you. Keep in mind that if you just start using a name without registering it, anyone else can use the same name in most circumstances and you have no recourse. Read our article on patents, trademarks and copyrights. Don`t underestimate the importance of securing your fictitious business name. You really need to understand what a fictitious name is and how it can help your business. On the other hand, if the party responsible for the delay in correctly identifying the defendant is the defendant`s lawyer, the plaintiff usually has more time for prior communication. For example, the defendant`s lawyer may initially refuse to provide advance information that could lead to the identification of a fictitious defendant. The plaintiff cannot be blamed for such delays, provided that he continues to make good faith efforts to establish the identity of the fictitious defendant.
Once all defendants have been duly named, the action for bodily injury against those parties can be continued. Travis received his J.D. from the University of Houston Law Center in 2017 and his B.A. with honors from the University of Texas in 2014. Travis has written on many legal topics, from articles that follow every Texas Supreme Court decision to the Virtual Reality Act. In his spare time from the legal world and the search for knowledge, this 3. Black belt degree and certified instructor after working with various charities focused on access to entertainment and games for all. (2) The temporary fictitious name given to an unidentified hospital or a deceased person. The period until a database administrator expires also differs. In Texas, for example, a fictitious name is good for ten years before it has to be renewed.