Luzerne County Small Claims Court, Pennsylvania


Where Can a Small Claims Court Case Be Filed?

Each county in Pennsylvania (except for Philadelphia) is divided into districts. Each district has an elected Magisterial District Judge. The plaintiff should file the case in the Magisterial District where:

  • the Defendant lives (or where the business involved is located)
  • the contract for the case was signed or where work was to be performed
  • the damage or accident involved happened
  • the goods involved are permanently kept

The plaintiff should contact the Magisterial District Court clerk to ensure it is the proper court for the case. You should also contact them to determine what the filing fee will be. The filing fee can be paid by the plaintiff when the case is actually filed. The complaint form can be found under “Civil Complaint” here. If the plaintiff plans to include information that could be deemed confidential, the plaintiff needs to complete the Confidential Information Form (which is found on the same page).

Luzerne County Magisterial Districts

Luzerne County has 16 Magisterial Districts which are:

11-1-01

The Magisterial District Judge for 11-1-01 is Richard J. Cronauer . The 11-1-01 Magisterial District courthouse is located at:

100 Hazle Street
Wilkes-Barre, PA 18702

The phone number for 11-1-01 Magisterial District is: 570-825-7373. The fax number for 11-1-01 Magisterial District is: 570-970-2568.

11-1-02

The Magisterial District Judge for 11-1-02 is Thomas F. Malloy . The 11-1-02 Magisterial District courthouse is located at:

100 Hazle Street
Wilkes-Barre, PA 18702

The phone number for 11-1-02 Magisterial District is: 570-825-8488. The fax number for 11-1-02 Magisterial District is: 570-970-2564.

11-1-03

The Magisterial District Judge for 11-1-03 is Joseph D. Zola . The 11-1-03 Magisterial District courthouse is located at:

615 East Broad Street
Hazleton, PA 18201

The phone number for 11-1-03 Magisterial District is: 570-455-9467. The fax number for 11-1-03 Magisterial District is: 570-501-8981.

11-1-04

The Magisterial District Judge for 11-1-04 is Alexandra C. Kokura Kravitz . The 11-1-04 Magisterial District courthouse is located at:

35 Broad Street
Pittston, PA 18640

The phone number for 11-1-04 Magisterial District is: 570-655-0552. The fax number for 11-1-04 Magisterial District is: 570-602-8297.

11-1-05

The Magisterial District Judge for 11-1-05 is James J. Haggerty . The 11-1-05 Magisterial District courthouse is located at:

Kingston Municipal Building
500 Wyoming Avenue
Kingston, PA 18704

The phone number for 11-1-05 Magisterial District is: 570-287-2800. The fax number for 11-1-05 Magisterial District is: 570-714-7568.

11-1-06

The Magisterial District Judge for 11-1-06 is David A. Barilla . The 11-1-06 Magisterial District courthouse is located at:

County of Luzerne West Side Annex
2009 Wyoming Avenue
Forty Fort, PA 18704

The phone number for 11-1-06 Magisterial District is: 570-287-2341. The fax number for 11-1-06 Magisterial District is: 570-714-7564.

11-2-01

The Magisterial District Judge for 11-2-01 is Joseph J. Carmody . The 11-2-01 Magisterial District courthouse is located at:

Municipal Building
555 Exeter Avenue
West Pittston, PA 18643

The phone number for 11-2-01 Magisterial District is: 570-655-0177. The fax number for 11-2-01 Magisterial District is: 570-602-8296.

11-2-03

The Magisterial District Judge for 11-2-03 is Joseph A. Halesey . The 11-2-03 Magisterial District courthouse is located at:

1460 Sans Souci Parkway
Hanover Township, PA 18706

The phone number for 11-2-03 Magisterial District is: 570-825-8890. The fax number for 11-2-03 Magisterial District is: 570-970-8893.

11-3-01

The Magisterial District Judge for 11-3-01 is Matthew C. Christopher . The 11-3-01 Magisterial District courthouse is located at:

33 West Union Street
Shickshinny, PA 18655

The phone number for 11-3-01 Magisterial District is: 570-542-4349. The fax number for 11-3-01 Magisterial District is: 570-542-5674.

11-3-02

The Magisterial District Judge for 11-3-02 is Donald L. Whittaker . The 11-3-02 Magisterial District courthouse is located at:

15 East Ridge Street
Nanticoke, PA 18634

The phone number for 11-3-02 Magisterial District is: 570-735-7648. The fax number for 11-3-02 Magisterial District is: 570-740-2072.

11-3-03

The Magisterial District Judge for 11-3-03 is Daniel O’Donnell . The 11-3-03 Magisterial District courthouse is located at:

662 Main Street, Suite 6
Sugarloaf Township, PA 18249

The phone number for 11-3-03 Magisterial District is: 570-788-1191. The fax number for 11-3-03 Magisterial District is: 570-788-7213.

11-3-04

The Magisterial District Judge for 11-3-04 is James M. Dixon . The 11-3-04 Magisterial District courthouse is located at:

Sunset Beltway Offices
102 Sunset Beltway
789 Airport Road
Hazle Township, PA 18202

The phone number for 11-3-04 Magisterial District is: 570-455-9191. The fax number for 11-3-04 Magisterial District is: 570-501-8980.

11-3-06

The Magisterial District Judge for 11-3-06 is Ferris P. Webby . The 11-3-06 Magisterial District courthouse is located at:

Wright Township Municipal Building
321 South Mountain Blvd.
Mountain Top, PA 18707

The phone number for 11-3-06 Magisterial District is: 570-474-6844. The fax number for 11-3-06 Magisterial District is: 570-474-6822.

11-3-07

The Magisterial District Judge for 11-3-07 is Michael G. Dotzel . The 11-3-07 Magisterial District courthouse is located at:

240 Johnson Street
Wilkes-Barre Twp, PA 18702

The phone number for 11-3-07 Magisterial District is: 570-825-8671. The fax number for 11-3-07 Magisterial District is: 570-970-2546.

11-3-08

The Magisterial District Judge for 11-3-08 is Joseph D. Spagnuolo . The 11-3-08 Magisterial District courthouse is located at:

90 Maffett Street, Suite 1
Plains, PA 18705

The phone number for 11-3-08 Magisterial District is: 570-825-8984. The fax number for 11-3-08 Magisterial District is: 570-970-2545.

11-3-09

The Magisterial District Judge for 11-3-09 is Brian J. Tupper . The 11-3-09 Magisterial District courthouse is located at:

11 Carverton Road
Trucksville, PA 18708

The phone number for 11-3-09 Magisterial District is: 570-696-4488. The fax number for 11-3-09 Magisterial District is: 570-696-5467.

Steps Before Filing a Case in Luzerne County Small Claims Court

Before you file a claim, you should send a letter to the defendant demanding payment (or whatever property you are seeking). This is usually the quickest and easiest way to resolve your dispute. Make sure you set a reasonable deadline in your letter for the defendant to comply by. If the defendant does not agree to your demands, then you may consider filing your case once the deadline has passed. Before filing your case, you need to learn the name and address of the party you are filing your case against. The court is unable to accept a P.O. Box. It needs a physical address. Additionally, if the party you are suing is not an individual, you will need to have the correct name of the corporation, partnership, limited liability entity, or whatever the corporate structure the party is utilizing. 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:

  • your name and address
  • defendant’s name and address
  • the dollar amount of damages
  • short statement of facts surrounding the circumstances of the case (including dates and locations)

The court allows a plaintiff to file a complaint through the mail, but a plaintiff should file it in person so the court clerk can notify you if there are any problems with your complaint. The plaintiff can also pay the filing fee in person at the courthouse. The plaintiff will also have to pay for a cost to serve the defendant. The plaintiff can have the claim served on the defendant by certified mail or personally by a sheriff or constable. Service by certified mail is cheaper but might not be as quick as personal service by a sheriff or constable.

Types of cases handled in Small Claims Court in Luzerne County

Most cases filed in small claims court in Luzerne County are either considered a breach of contract case or a negligence case. A contract is where two parties enter into an agreement (either written or oral). Contracts are common and used in a wide variety of situations including between:

  • homeowners and contractors to make repairs
  • insurance companies to provide insurance services
  • credit services between a credit card company and a consumer

A breach of contract is when one party does not do what they promised under the agreement (pay money or provide services usually). Negligence is where a party that is supposed to act with reasonable care fails to do so and someone else is injured from that. Negligence actions usually arise in an automobile accident or other times where someone sustains personal injuries or property damage.

Small Claims Court Hearings in Luzerne County Magisterial District Court

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. 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. At the hearing, there will usually be the judge, clerk, plaintiff, defendant, and any witnesses for both sides. Courtrooms are open to the public so there may be additional persons in the gallery (who may include additional parties if there is more than one case set for a hearing that day). The judge will explain the procedures at the beginning of the case (or at the beginning of the docket if there are multiple cases set for a hearing on the same day). Plaintiff and Defendant will both be sworn in at the beginning to present testimony to the court. During the hearing, the plaintiff will be given an opportunity to testify about what happened that caused the plaintiff to file the claim. 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 court will then give the Defendant a chance to ask questions to the plaintiff. Once the plaintiff is finished, any witnesses the plaintiff brought will be sworn and have the chance to testify as well. The defendant will be given the chance 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).

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. Also, the defendant has thirty days to file an appeal to the 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 (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 plaintiff does not prevail at the initial hearing, the plaintiff has the option of appealing the Magisterial District Judge’s decision as well.

What is a Magisterial District Judge?

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).

Filing a Case in Luzerne County Magisterial District Court

Claims for $12,000 or less can also be filed at the Common Pleas Court. But, the Common Pleas Court is more formal and expensive than Magisterial District Court. The Common Pleas Court requires an attorney to handle your case. Magisterial District Court does not require an attorney.

Luzerne County Small Claims Court

Luzerne County Small Claims Court

Luzerne County Small Claims Court

Small Claims Court cases are handled in Pennsylvania at the Magisterial District Court. In Magisterial District Court, a party is not required to have an attorney. The amount of the claim you are filing cannot exceed $12,000.00. The plaintiff is also required to file a filing fee (which varies depending on how much money the plaintiff is asking for). There may also be an additional cost for serving the Defendant. If the plaintiff prevails in the case, these costs can be recovered from the defendant.