Steps Before Filing a Case in Monroe County Small Claims Court
Prior to filing a claim, it is recommended that you send a demand letter to the defendant asking for payment. A demand letter can be the cheapest and quickest way of resolving your situation. 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. 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. 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. For help determining the proper name, you should contact Pennsylvania’s Corporation Bureau online or by phone at 717-787-1057. Before going to the Magisterial District Court to file your claim, you should know the following information:
- your name and address
- name and address of the person you want to sue
- 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 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. 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. Personal service can be more expensive than certified mail but can be quicker than certified mail.
Monroe 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. 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 prevails in the case, these costs can be recovered from the defendant.
Monroe 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). Prior to the hearing, you should gather all documents and papers related to your case. Plan on having any witnesses that can support your position ready to be 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. 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). The plaintiff and defendant will both be sworn in to present testimony to the judge. The court will give the plaintiff a chance to present its case through testimony. 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. 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 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 defendant can also bring witnesses to provide testimony to the judge 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 Monroe County
Monroe County has 9 Magisterial Districts which are:
The Magisterial District Judge for 43-2-01 is Kristina Anzini . The 43-2-01 Magisterial District courthouse is located at:Pocono Outlet Complex 823-A Ann Street Stroudsburg, PA 18360
The phone number for 43-2-01 Magisterial District is: 570-420-3492. The fax number for 43-2-01 Magisterial District is: 570-420-3487.
The Magisterial District Judge for 43-2-02 is Michael R. Muth . The 43-2-02 Magisterial District courthouse is located at:98 Day Street East Stroudsburg, PA 18301
The phone number for 43-2-02 Magisterial District is: 570-420-3496. The fax number for 43-2-02 Magisterial District is: 570-420-3489.
The Magisterial District Judge for 43-3-01 is Danielle N. Travagline . The 43-3-01 Magisterial District courthouse is located at:5560 Municipal Drive Tobyhanna, PA 18466
The phone number for 43-3-01 Magisterial District is: 570-894-8566. The fax number for 43-3-01 Magisterial District is: 570-894-5030.
The Magisterial District Judge for 43-3-02 is C. Daniel Higgins . The 43-3-02 Magisterial District courthouse is located at:1211 North 5th Street, Suite 103 Stroudsburg, PA 18360
The phone number for 43-3-02 Magisterial District is: 570-420-3494. The fax number for 43-3-02 Magisterial District is: 570-420-3488.
The Magisterial District Judge for 43-3-03 is Daniel J. Kresge . The 43-3-03 Magisterial District courthouse is located at:3361 Rte 611 Ste 4 Bartonsville, PA 18321
The phone number for 43-3-03 Magisterial District is: 570-629-1460. The fax number for 43-3-03 Magisterial District is: 570-629-1627.
The Magisterial District Judge for 43-3-04 is Colleen Mancuso . The 43-3-04 Magisterial District courthouse is located at:Route 209 & Shafer Drive PO Box 218 Brodheadsville, PA 18322
The phone number for 43-3-04 Magisterial District is: 570-992-4919. The fax number for 43-3-04 Magisterial District is: 570-992-4690.
The Magisterial District Judge for 43-4-01 is Brian R. Germano . The 43-4-01 Magisterial District courthouse is located at:1155 Red Fox Road PO Box 1127 Marshalls Creek, PA 18335
The phone number for 43-4-01 Magisterial District is: 570-223-1287. The fax number for 43-4-01 Magisterial District is: 570-223-1813.
The Magisterial District Judge for 43-4-02 is Phillip R. Riley . The 43-4-02 Magisterial District courthouse is located at:6689 Route 191 PO Box 213 Mountainhome, PA 18342
The phone number for 43-4-02 Magisterial District is: 570-595-2520. The fax number for 43-4-02 Magisterial District is: 570-595-0417.
The Magisterial District Judge for 43-4-04 is Richard S. Claypool . The 43-4-04 Magisterial District courthouse is located at:1878 Route 940 PO Box 116 Pocono Pines, PA 18350
The phone number for 43-4-04 Magisterial District is: 570-646-4637. The fax number for 43-4-04 Magisterial District is: 570-643-1954.
What does a Magisterial District Judge Handle?
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.
Where Should I File a Monroe 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 Defendant lives (or where the business involved is located)
- the contract was signed or where the contract was supposed to be performed
- the accident 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. The plaintiff should also inquire from the clerk what the filing fee will be. You will pay the filing fee when you file the Complaint with the court. The plaintiff needs to complete the form “Civil Complaint.” 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).
Types of cases handled in Small Claims Court in Monroe County
Two types of civil cases are generally heard in Magisterial District Court in Monroe County: negligence and contract actions. 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:
- homeowners and contractors to make repairs
- insurance companies to provide insurance services
- credit card companies and credit card holders to provide credit services
Breach of contract occurs when one party does not complete what they are required to do under the contract. 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.
Filing a Case in Monroe 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. Also, you need an attorney to file your case in common pleas court. Magisterial District Court does not require an attorney.
After the Judge Makes a Decision
If the plaintiff prevails, the defendant may arrange to make payments on a twelve month installment plan (which will be set by the judge). Also, the defendant has thirty days to file an appeal to the 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 will prevent the plaintiff from taking any steps to collect money from the defendant until the appeal is decided. If the judge rules for the defendant, the plaintiff can appeal this decision as well.