Chester County Small Claims Court, Pennsylvania


Small Claims Court Hearings in Chester County Magisterial District Court

Once the claim has been filed, the clerk will set a hearing between 12 and 60 days from the date of the filing of the claim. Before the hearing, both parties should gather all documents and papers related to the case. Both the plaintiff and defendant should also arrange to have any witnesses with knowledge about the case present in court on the date of the hearing. 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 hearing, the Magisterial District Judge will explain the procedures. Plaintiff and Defendant will both be sworn in at the beginning to present testimony to the court. The court will give the plaintiff a chance to present its case through testimony. The plaintiff can present papers, bills, records, receipts, photographs, or video to the judge. The plaintiff will probably also be asked questions by the defendant. Once the plaintiff is finished, any witnesses the plaintiff brought will be sworn and have the chance to testify as well. The defendant will also be granted the opportunity to ask questions of these witnesses as well. After the plaintiff is finished presenting his or her case, the court will allow the defendant a chance to present a defense (including testimony from the defendant). The judge will also give the defendant a chance to have any witnesses that he or she brought to present testimony as well. After all the evidence has been presented, the judge will make a decision (either at the hearing or within five days).

Magisterial District Court in Chester County

Chester County has 17 Magisterial Districts which are:

15-1-01

The Magisterial District Judge for 15-1-01 is Bret M. Binder . The 15-1-01 Magisterial District courthouse is located at:

201 West Market Street, Suite 1307
PO Box 2746
West Chester, PA 19380

The phone number for 15-1-01 Magisterial District is: 610-431-4814. The fax number for 15-1-01 Magisterial District is: 610-431-4018.

15-1-02

The Magisterial District Judge for 15-1-02 is Thomas W. Tartaglio . The 15-1-02 Magisterial District courthouse is located at:

1572 Paoli Pike
West Chester, PA 19380

The phone number for 15-1-02 Magisterial District is: 610-430-1966. The fax number for 15-1-02 Magisterial District is: 610-430-8641.

15-1-03

The Magisterial District Judge for 15-1-03 is Gregory V. Hines . The 15-1-03 Magisterial District courthouse is located at:

One City Hall Place
Suite 200
Coatesville, PA 19320

The phone number for 15-1-03 Magisterial District is: 610-384-3159. The fax number for 15-1-03 Magisterial District is: 610-384-5163.

15-1-04

The Magisterial District Judge for 15-1-04 is Marian T. Vito . The 15-1-04 Magisterial District courthouse is located at:

21 West Market Street, Suite 100
West Chester, PA 19382

The phone number for 15-1-04 Magisterial District is: 610-344-6622. The fax number for 15-1-04 Magisterial District is: 610-429-4644.

15-1-05

The Magisterial District Judge for 15-1-05 is Grover E. Koon . The 15-1-05 Magisterial District courthouse is located at:

Highlands Corporate Center
615 Sands Court
Coatesville, PA 19320

The phone number for 15-1-05 Magisterial District is: 610-380-3325. The fax number for 15-1-05 Magisterial District is: 610-380-4774.

15-2-01

The Magisterial District Judge for 15-2-01 is (Vacant) Michaels . The 15-2-01 Magisterial District courthouse is located at:

347 Bridge Street
Phoenixville, PA 19460

The phone number for 15-2-01 Magisterial District is: 610-935-1503. The fax number for 15-2-01 Magisterial District is: 610-935-7427.

15-2-03

The Magisterial District Judge for 15-2-03 is William D. Kraut . The 15-2-03 Magisterial District courthouse is located at:

601 Westtown Road, Suite 110
PO Box 2747
West Chester, PA 19380

The phone number for 15-2-03 Magisterial District is: 610-436-5757. The fax number for 15-2-03 Magisterial District is: 610-431-5755.

15-2-07

The Magisterial District Judge for 15-2-07 is Lori Novak Donatelli . The 15-2-07 Magisterial District courthouse is located at:

75 East Uwchlan Avenue, Suite 110
Exton, PA 19341

The phone number for 15-2-07 Magisterial District is: 610-524-7456. The fax number for 15-2-07 Magisterial District is: 610-524-6341.

15-3-01

The Magisterial District Judge for 15-3-01 is John A. Hipple . The 15-3-01 Magisterial District courthouse is located at:

1101 Ridge Road, Suite B
Pottstown, PA 19465

The phone number for 15-3-01 Magisterial District is: 610-469-1910. The fax number for 15-3-01 Magisterial District is: 610-469-1913.

15-3-04

The Magisterial District Judge for 15-3-04 is Albert M. Iacocca . The 15-3-04 Magisterial District courthouse is located at:

916 West Cypress Street
Kennett Square, PA 19348

The phone number for 15-3-04 Magisterial District is: 610-444-6330. The fax number for 15-3-04 Magisterial District is: 610-444-6429.

15-3-05

The Magisterial District Judge for 15-3-05 is Scott A. Massey . The 15-3-05 Magisterial District courthouse is located at:

305 South Third Street
Oxford, PA 19363

The phone number for 15-3-05 Magisterial District is: 610-932-4305. The fax number for 15-3-05 Magisterial District is: 610-932-7649.

15-3-06

The Magisterial District Judge for 15-3-06 is Michael J. Cabry . The 15-3-06 Magisterial District courthouse is located at:

4824 Horseshoe Pike
Honey Brook, PA 19344

The phone number for 15-3-06 Magisterial District is: 610-273-3726. The fax number for 15-3-06 Magisterial District is: 610-273-4392.

15-3-07

The Magisterial District Judge for 15-3-07 is Nancy A. Gill . The 15-3-07 Magisterial District courthouse is located at:

315 West First Avenue, Building 3
Parkesburg, PA 19365

The phone number for 15-3-07 Magisterial District is: 610-857-5547. The fax number for 15-3-07 Magisterial District is: 610-857-5841.

15-4-01

The Magisterial District Judge for 15-4-01 is Analisa S. Sondergaard . The 15-4-01 Magisterial District courthouse is located at:

950 West Valley Road, Suite 3100
Wayne, PA 19087

The phone number for 15-4-01 Magisterial District is: 610-971-1680. The fax number for 15-4-01 Magisterial District is: 610-971-1685.

15-4-02

The Magisterial District Judge for 15-4-02 is Jeffrey J. Valocchi . The 15-4-02 Magisterial District courthouse is located at:

231 Boot Road
Downingtown, PA 19335

The phone number for 15-4-02 Magisterial District is: 610-269-5250. The fax number for 15-4-02 Magisterial District is: 610-269-5017.

15-4-03

The Magisterial District Judge for 15-4-03 is John R. Bailey . The 15-4-03 Magisterial District courthouse is located at:

Whiteland Business Park
748 Springdale Drive, Suite 110
Exton, PA 19341

The phone number for 15-4-03 Magisterial District is: 610-594-7728. The fax number for 15-4-03 Magisterial District is: 610-594-7896.

15-4-04

The Magisterial District Judge for 15-4-04 is Matthew Seavey . The 15-4-04 Magisterial District courthouse is located at:

914 West Cypress Street
Kennett Square, PA 19348

The phone number for 15-4-04 Magisterial District is: 610-444-6338. The fax number for 15-4-04 Magisterial District is: 610-444-4368.

Types of Cases Handled by a Magisterial District Judge in Chester County

A Magisterial District Judge is a judge elected by the people of the district to handle certain types of cases including criminal (preliminary hearings and arraignments, traffic offenses, municipal code violations) and civil (landlord/tenant cases and cases where the amount in dispute does not exceed $12,000).

Steps Before Filing a Case in Chester County Small Claims Court

You should send a demand letter to the defendant asking for payment before filing your claim. This is usually the quickest and easiest way to resolve your dispute. Be sure to include a deadline that is reasonable in your demand letter. If the demand letter does not resolve your case, you can consider filing your case. Prior to filing your claim, you need to ascertain the name and physical address of the party you intend to sue. The Magisterial Court cannot accept a post office box. 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 is a great resource for assisting with this task (Phone: 717-787-1057). Before heading down to the courthouse to fill out your claim, you should have the following information:

  • your name and address
  • 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 it is possible to file your claim through the mail, the plaintiff should file it in person at the courthouse with the clerk, so the clerk can let the plaintiff know if there are any problems with the claim. Additionally, you can pay the filing costs in person (which can be recovered if you prevail in your lawsuit). The plaintiff will also have to pay for a cost to serve the defendant. Your complaint can be served on the defendant either by certified mail or 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).

Chester County Magisterial District Court Appeal

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 the defendant wishes to appeal, he or she must file a Notice of Appeal with the prothonotary at the county courthouse. The Notice of Appeal (once filed) will be served on the Magisterial District Judge (who made the decision) and the plaintiff. The Notice of Appeal prevents the plaintiff from collecting any money until the appeal is decided. If the judge rules for the defendant, the plaintiff can appeal this decision as well.

Filing a Case in Chester County Magisterial District Court

A claim of $12,000 or less is also able to be filed in Common Pleas Court. But, the Common Pleas Court is more formal and expensive than Magisterial District Court. Also, you need an attorney to file your case in common pleas court. An attorney is not required at the Magisterial District Court.

Types of cases handled in Small Claims Court in Chester County

A Magisterial District Judge generally hears negligence and breach of contract actions with respect to civil cases. A breach of contract action is where parties enter into an agreement that can be either oral or in writing. Contracts are used frequently and arise in many contexts including:

  • home improvements between a contractor and a homeowner
  • insurance companies to provide insurance services
  • credit card companies and credit card holders to provide credit services

A breach of contract is when one party does not do what they promised under the agreement (pay money or provide services usually). A negligence case occurs when a party who is responsible to protect someone or something using due care, fails to do so. Negligence actions generally include traffic accidents on the road and can include an actions for personal injuries (pain and suffering to a person) and property damage (generally to a car or other property).

Where to File a Small Claims Court Case?

Courts in Pennsylvania are divided into districts. Each district has an elected Magisterial District Judge. A case should be filed in the Magisterial District where:

  • the Defendant resides or where the business is located
  • the contract involved was signed or performance was made
  • the accident occurred
  • the property from the case is 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. The plaintiff should also inquire from the clerk what the filing fee will be. The filing fee can be paid by the plaintiff when the case is actually filed. 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.

Chester County Small Claims Court

Chester County Small Claims Court

Chester County Small Claims Court

Small Claims courts are in Pennsylvania are generally called Magisterial District Courts. A party is not required to have an attorney for a small claims court case in a Magisterial District Court. 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. There is also an additional cost for serving the defendant with the claim. These costs can potentially be recovered by you if you win the case.