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A fictitious and nominal defendant in an action of Ejectment.
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.
CASUAL EJECTOR, practice, ejectment. A person, supposed to come upon land
casually, (although usually by previous agreement,) who turns out the lessee
of the person claiming the possession against the actual tenant or occupier
of the land. 3 Bl. Com. 201, 202.
2. Originally, in order to try the right by ejectment, Several things were necessary to be made out before the court first, a title to the land, in question, upon which the owner was to make a formal entry; and being so in possession he executed a lease to some third person or lessee, leaving him in possession then the prior tenant or some other person, called the casual ejector, either by accident or by agreement beforehand, came upon the land and turned him out, and for this ouster or turning out, the action was brought. But these formalities are now dispensed with, and the trial relates merely to the title, the defendant being bound to acknowledge the lease, entry, and ouster. 3 Bl. Com. 202;.Dane's Ab. Index, h.t.