In a state action you are allowed to plead absent Defendants which may be identified later through discovery or subsequent investigation. If the name of an absent Defendant is identified, the state court has a simple procedure to add those additional defendants to the lawsuit. At a certain time in the action, which varies from court to court, that right to easily add the missing defendants is closed. In San Diego, for example, this takes place at the case management conference. In any event, it will take place before trial commences. If you do not have any missing defendants to add, you should not be concerned that your right to add them has been taken away.
"Doe" defendants 1 through 100 are fictitiously named defendants being dismissed. When all of the "Doe" defendants are being dismissed, it is usually indicative of the plaintiff seeking a default judgment against the remaining named defendant(s).
It is imperative that you have an attorney look up the case status to ascertain how to protect your rights, and to take whatever necessary action is appropriate. If you have not been properly served with the summons, your attorney can make a motion to set aside the default and vacate the default judgment (or procure a stipulation to set aside the default and default judgment). Otherwise, if you do nothing, you may soon find your wages being garnished and bank accounts levied.
Frank W. Chen has been licensed to practice law in California since 1988. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice for a particular case. This Avvo.com posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, please consult with your own attorney.