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 file an appeal at the Common Pleas Court. A Notice of Appeal needs to be filed with the prothonotary at the county courthouse. A copy of the Notice of Appeal will be served on the judge (who made the decision) and the plaintiff in the case. The plaintiff cannot take any steps to collect money from the Defendant based on the Magisterial District Court’s judgment until the appeal has been decided. The plaintiff can also appeal the Magisterial District Judge’s decision if the judge ruled for the defendant at the hearing.
Small Claims Court in Lycoming 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. The claim, or amount in controversy, cannot exceed $12,000.00. A filing fee is required and depends on the amount of money in dispute. 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.
Where Should I File a Lycoming County 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 for the case was signed or where work was to be performed
- the accident occurred
- the property that the case is about is located
Once you locate what the appropriate court should be, you should contact the court to determine whether it is the appropriate place to file your claim. The plaintiff can also inquire what the filing fee for the case 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.
Magisterial District Court in Lycoming County
Lycoming County has 6 Magisterial Districts which are:
The Magisterial District Judge for 29-1-01 is Christian D. Frey . The 29-1-01 Magisterial District courthouse is located at:605 West 4th Street Williamsport, PA 17701
The phone number for 29-1-01 Magisterial District is: 570-322-6159. The fax number for 29-1-01 Magisterial District is: 570-322-3082.
The Magisterial District Judge for 29-1-02 is Allen P. Page . The 29-1-02 Magisterial District courthouse is located at:Lycoming County Courthouse 48 West Third Street Williamsport, PA 17701
The phone number for 29-1-02 Magisterial District is: 570-327-2275. The fax number for 29-1-02 Magisterial District is: 570-327-2426.
The Magisterial District Judge for 29-3-01 is Jerry C. Lepley . The 29-3-01 Magisterial District courthouse is located at:216 Market Street Jersey Shore, PA 17740
The phone number for 29-3-01 Magisterial District is: 570-398-4880. The fax number for 29-3-01 Magisterial District is: 570-398-4855.
The Magisterial District Judge for 29-3-02 is Gary A. Whiteman . The 29-3-02 Magisterial District courthouse is located at:Lysock View Complex, Suite #103 542 County Farm Road Montoursville, PA 17754
The phone number for 29-3-02 Magisterial District is: 570-326-1714. The fax number for 29-3-02 Magisterial District is: 570-326-6496.
The Magisterial District Judge for 29-3-03 is Jon E. Kemp . The 29-3-03 Magisterial District courthouse is located at:2134 Route 405 Highway Muncy, PA 17756
The phone number for 29-3-03 Magisterial District is: 570-546-7480. The fax number for 29-3-03 Magisterial District is: 570-546-6530.
The Magisterial District Judge for 29-3-04 is William C. Solomon . The 29-3-04 Magisterial District courthouse is located at:1965 Lycoming Creek Road, Room 101 Williamsport, PA 17701
The phone number for 29-3-04 Magisterial District is: 570-323-9982. The fax number for 29-3-04 Magisterial District is: 570-323-9015.
Lycoming County Magisterial District Court Small Claims Court Hearing
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. Plan on having any witnesses that can support your position ready to be 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. Because the hearing is open to the public, there may be members of the public watching court from the gallery (along with maybe other parties waiting for their cases to be called). 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). Both parties will be sworn in to provide testimony. At the hearing, the judge will give the plaintiff an opportunity to testify about the circumstances surrounding the case. During this time, the plaintiff should present any evidence supporting the case including paperwork, receipts, records, photographs, or videos of the case. The defendant will have the opportunity to ask questions of the plaintiff. Once the plaintiff is done, the witnesses that the plaintiff brought will also be given a chance to provide testimony. The defendant will also be granted the opportunity to ask questions of these witnesses as well. Once the plaintiff is done, the defendant will have a chance to present testimony (and the plaintiff can ask questions of the defendant). The defendant will also be allowed to present testimony from any witnesses that he or she brought. Once all the evidence has been presented, the judge will either make a decision at the hearing or within five days.
What does a Magisterial District Judge Handle?
Magisterial District Judges are judges elected by the people of their district to handle criminal preliminary arraignments and preliminary hearings, summary criminal offenses, traffic offenses, municipal code violations, landlord / tenant actions, and civil actions where the damages do not exceed $12,000 (commonly known as small claims court).
Before Filing a Small Claims Court Claim in Lycoming County
Before you file a claim, you should send a letter to the defendant demanding payment (or whatever property you are seeking). A demand letter can be the easiest and shortest way to resolve your case. Be sure to include a deadline that is reasonable in your demand letter. If the defendant does not agree to the terms in your letter (or fails to respond), you may 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 court is unable to accept a P.O. Box. It needs a physical address. If the party the plaintiff is suing is not an individual, the plaintiff needs to ascertain what corporate form the defendant is using as well as the name of that corporate entity. The Pennsylvania Corporation Bureau (717-787-1057) can assist with learning this information. Before heading down to the courthouse to fill out your claim, you should have the following information:
- your name and address
- defendant’s name and address
- the dollar amount of damages
- 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. The plaintiff can also pay the filing fee in person at the courthouse. 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). Your complaint can be served on the defendant either by certified mail or by a sheriff or constable. Personal service can be more expensive than certified mail but can be quicker than certified mail.
Should I File in Lycoming County Magisterial District Court
Claims for $12,000 or less can also be filed in a court called common pleas court. But, the Magisterial District Courts are less formal, less expensive, and faster than common pleas courts. Also, you need an attorney to file your case in common pleas court. In Magisterial District Court, an attorney is not required.
Lycoming County Small Claims Court Case Types
Two types of civil cases are generally heard in Magisterial District Court in Lycoming County: negligence and contract actions. 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). Negligence is where a person or party has a responsibility to use reasonable care to protect others from damages and fails to do so. These actions usually include traffic accidents or other types of situations resulting in personal injury or property damage.