July 15, 2019
How to Name a Defendant

It is very important to name the Defendant correctly, because you will only be able to collect from the party or parties whose name is exactly the same as the name that appears on your claim.

If you are suing an individual, write his or her first name, middle initial and last name.

If you are suing a company owned by one person, you must write both the owner and the company name. You should also name the owner as the individual to increase your chances of collecting if you win. Write the letters DBA which stands for "Doing Business As" between the name of the owner and the company name, if the owner is doing business under a fictitious name. For example, you would write Sue Smith, individual & dba Continental Candies.

If you are suing a husband and wife, write the husband's full name and the wife's full name. For example, James A. Jones and Sally R. Jones. If you don't know the wife's first name, write James A. Jones and Mrs. James A. Jones.

If you are suing a partnership, it's a good idea to name both the partnership and the partners as individuals as well. For example, you would write Jim Smith, Individual & John Jones Individual & dba Smith & Jones. If you win your case, you will be entitled to collect from either the partnership or the individual partners.

If you are suing a corporation, write the exact name of the corporation, as in the following example:

Sally's Dresses, a corporation
Sally's Dresses, Inc

If a corporation owns a division or subsidiary it should be designated as in the following example:

"Lotus Corporation", doing business as "The Flower Company"

You do not name an individual when suing a corporation. Just the corporation is named. If you wish the Court to serve your defendant by certified mail, they will need the name of a corporate officer or agent for service.

If you are suing as a result of a vehicle accident, you must name both the registered owner and the driver. If the owner and driver are the same person write, for example, Sam Jones, owner and driver. If the owner and driver are not the same you would, for example, write Lucy Smith, owner and Betty Smith, driver.

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