Cambria County Magisterial District Court Hearing
Once you file your claim, the clerk will schedule a hearing (usually between 12 and 60 days from the date you filed your claim). Each party should gather all documents and papers related to the case before the hearing. You should also arrange to have any witnesses that may support your position present on the date of the hearing so they can testify. The hearing is open to the public and usually includes the following: judge, clerk, plaintiff, defendant, and any witnesses for either party. The courtroom is open to the public so anybody may be sitting in the gallery of the courtroom as well. At the beginning of the case (or calendar), the Magisterial District Judge will usually briefly explain the procedures used at the hearing. Both parties will be sworn in to provide testimony. The court will give the plaintiff a chance to present its case through testimony. During his or her testimony, the plaintiff should be sure to discuss and show to the court any documentary evidence (agreements, receipts) or other evidence (photographs or videos) to support the plaintiff’s case. The plaintiff will probably also be asked questions by the defendant. After the plaintiff is finished, the court will give the plaintiff a chance to present testimony from any other witnesses brought to testify. The defendant will have the chance to ask questions for these witnesses too. After the plaintiff is done presenting his or her case, the judge will give the defendant an opportunity to testify (and the plaintiff will be given the chance to ask questions as well). The defendant will also be allowed to present testimony from any witnesses that he or she brought. The judge will usually make a decision at the hearing (or within five days).
After the Judge Makes a Decision
If the judge rules in favor of the plaintiff, the judge may set up a 12 month installment plan for the Defendant to make payments. The defendant has thirty days to appeal the Magisterial District Judge’s decision to Common Pleas Court. If there is an appeal, a Notice of Appeal is filed with the prothonotary in the county courthouse. The Notice of Appeal will be served on the Magisterial District Judge who made the decision along with the plaintiff. The Notice of Appeal will prevent the plaintiff from taking any steps to collect money from the defendant until the appeal is decided. If the plaintiff does not prevail at the initial hearing, the plaintiff has the option of appealing the Magisterial District Judge’s decision as well.
Small Claims Court in Cambria County
Magisterial District Courts in Pennsylvania handle a wide variety of cases including what are commonly known as small claims court cases. A lawyer is not required. A plaintiff cannot file a claim for more than $12,000. A filing fee is required and depends on the amount of money in dispute. In addition to the filing fee, the plaintiff will need to pay for the defendant(s) to be served. If the plaintiff wins, these costs can potentially be recovered from the defendant.
Advantages of Filing in Magisterial District Court in Cambria County
Claims for $12,000 or less can also be filed at the Common Pleas Court. However, the Magisterial District Court is not as formal and is cheaper than a case in common pleas court. Also, you need an attorney to file your case in common pleas court. An attorney is not required at the Magisterial District Court.
Where Should I File a Cambria County Small Claims Court Case?
Each county in Pennsylvania (except for Philadelphia) is divided into districts. Each district has an elected Magisterial District Judge. A case should be filed in the Magisterial District where:
- the business is located or where the defendant lives
- the contract was signed or where the contract was supposed to be performed
- the damage or accident involved happened
- the goods involved are permanently kept
The plaintiff should contact the Magisterial District Court where the plaintiff thinks the case should be filed and inquire if it is the correct court. You should also contact them to determine what the filing fee will be. The filing fee will be paid when the Complaint is filed with the court. The form “Civil Complaint” need to be completed by the plaintiff. If the plaintiff intends to place confidential information on the “Civil Complaint,” the plaintiff also needs to complete the “Confidential Information Form” which is located on the same page.
Magisterial District Court in Cambria County
Cambria County has 8 Magisterial Districts which are:
The Magisterial District Judge for 47-1-01 is Michael J. Musulin . The 47-1-01 Magisterial District courthouse is located at:Central Park Complex 110 Franklin Street Johnstown, PA 15901
The phone number for 47-1-01 Magisterial District is: 814-539-9982. The fax number for 47-1-01 Magisterial District is: 814-539-2651.
The Magisterial District Judge for 47-1-02 is Susan M. Gindlesperger . The 47-1-02 Magisterial District courthouse is located at:701 Belmont Street Johnstown, PA 15904
The phone number for 47-1-02 Magisterial District is: 814-266-1066. The fax number for 47-1-02 Magisterial District is: 814-266-1088.
The Magisterial District Judge for 47-1-03 is Kevin J. Price . The 47-1-03 Magisterial District courthouse is located at:Central Park Complex 110 Franklin Street, 2nd Floor Johnstown, PA 15901
The phone number for 47-1-03 Magisterial District is: 814-539-7791. The fax number for 47-1-03 Magisterial District is: 814-536-3164.
The Magisterial District Judge for 47-3-01 is Mary Ann Zanghi . The 47-3-01 Magisterial District courthouse is located at:
The phone number for 47-3-01 Magisterial District is: 814-322-1527. The fax number for 47-3-01 Magisterial District is: 814-322-1100.
The Magisterial District Judge for 47-3-03 is John J. Prebish . The 47-3-03 Magisterial District courthouse is located at:730 Portage Road Cresson, PA 16630
The phone number for 47-3-03 Magisterial District is: 814-886-8879. The fax number for 47-3-03 Magisterial District is: 814-886-8478.
The Magisterial District Judge for 47-3-05 is Michael Zungali . The 47-3-05 Magisterial District courthouse is located at:207 Fifth Avenue, Suite 3 PO Box 481 Hastings, PA 16646
The phone number for 47-3-05 Magisterial District is: 814-247-6588. The fax number for 47-3-05 Magisterial District is: 814-247-6644.
The Magisterial District Judge for 47-3-06 is Rick W. Varner . The 47-3-06 Magisterial District courthouse is located at:112 Mary Drive PO Box 35 Sidman, PA 15955
The phone number for 47-3-06 Magisterial District is: 814-487-5111. The fax number for 47-3-06 Magisterial District is: 814-487-7327.
The Magisterial District Judge for 47-3-07 is Frederick S. Creany . The 47-3-07 Magisterial District courthouse is located at:401 Candle Light Drive 1st Floor, Suite 120 Ebensburg, PA 15931
The phone number for 47-3-07 Magisterial District is: 814-472-6661. The fax number for 47-3-07 Magisterial District is: 814-472-1278.
Types of Cases in Cambria County Small Claims Court
Most cases filed in small claims court in Cambria County are either considered a breach of contract case or a negligence case. A breach of contract case happens when two parties enter into a contract (oral or written) and one party fails to perform its obligations under the contract (either didn’t pay money or didn’t perform services or work). Contracts are used in many situations including:
- contractors and homeowner to make improvements
- insurance services between an insurance company and a consumer
- credit card companies when providing credit to consumers
Breach of contract occurs when one party does not complete what they are required to do under the contract. A negligence case occurs when a party who is responsible to protect someone or something using due care, fails to do so. Negligence actions usually arise in an automobile accident or other times where someone sustains personal injuries or property damage.
Types of Cases Handled by a Magisterial District Judge in Cambria County
A Magisterial District Judge has jurisdiction over the following cases: preliminary hearings and preliminary arraignments in criminal cases, traffic offenses, municipal code violations, landlord/tenant cases and cases where the amount sought does not exceed $12,000.00.
Prior to Filing a Small Claims Court Claim in Cambria County Magisterial District Court
You should send a demand letter to the defendant asking for payment before filing your claim. A demand letter can be the cheapest and quickest way of resolving your situation. In addition to the amount you are requesting, you should also set a reasonable deadline for the defendant to respond by. If the demand letter does not resolve your case, you can consider filing your case. It is also important to know the name and address of the party you wish to file your action against. The court is unable to accept a P.O. Box. It needs a physical address. If the party you intend on suing is not an individual, it is important to learn what corporate form the business is using. The Pennsylvania Corporation Bureau (717-787-1057) can assist with learning this information. Before going to the Magisterial District Court to file your claim, you should know the following information:
- name and address of the plaintiff
- name and address of the person you want to sue
- the amount of money you are filing your claim for (including all expenses)
- a short statement concerning why you believe you are entitled to that amount of money (you should include dates and enough information so the person you are suing knows why you are suing them)
While you can submit your claim through the mail, it is recommended that you file it in person so the clerk can let you know in person whether the form has been properly completed. While at the courthouse, the plaintiff can pay the filing fees. In addition to the filing fee, you will also have to pay for the cost for personal service of your claim on the defendant (which varies depending on how it is served). The plaintiff can have the claim served on the defendant by certified mail or personally by a sheriff or constable. Service by a sheriff or constable can cost more than by certified mail (but may be quicker because a person might not be home or refuse to accept a certified letter).