A fictitious and nominal defendant in an action ofejectment.
Ejectment was one of the old common-law forms of action. It could be used to oust an intruder on the plaintiff's land, such as a holdover tenant. It could also be used when there was no intruder, but the owner wished to remove any doubt about his or her right to the land without waiting for someone to sue him or her. In such a case, the strict form of procedure required that the plaintiff name a defendant even when none actually existed. The action was brought against a fictitious person called the casual ejector. The name john doe was used often for this nonexistent defendant.