Perry County Small Claims Court, Pennsylvania


Magisterial District Court in Perry County

Perry County has 3 Magisterial Districts which are:

41-3-03

The Magisterial District Judge for 41-3-03 is Daniel R. L. McGuire . The 41-3-03 Magisterial District courthouse is located at:

3351 Susquehanna Trail
Duncannon, PA 17020

The phone number for 41-3-03 Magisterial District is: 717-834-4990. The fax number for 41-3-03 Magisterial District is: 717-834-5968.

41-3-04

The Magisterial District Judge for 41-3-04 is Michael E. Schechterly . The 41-3-04 Magisterial District courthouse is located at:

133 South Fifth Street
Newport, PA 17074

The phone number for 41-3-04 Magisterial District is: 717-567-6365. The fax number for 41-3-04 Magisterial District is: 717-567-9323.

41-3-05

The Magisterial District Judge for 41-3-05 is Elizabeth R. Frownfelter . The 41-3-05 Magisterial District courthouse is located at:

3553 Shermans Valley Road
PO Box 908
Loysville, PA 17047

The phone number for 41-3-05 Magisterial District is: 717-789-4117. The fax number for 41-3-05 Magisterial District is: 717-789-3337.

Small Claims Court in Perry County

Perry County Small Claims Court

Perry 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. 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. 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.

Perry County Small Claims Court Case Types

A Magisterial District Judge generally hears negligence and breach of contract actions with respect to civil cases. 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 frequently and arise in many contexts including:

  • homeowners and contractors to make repairs
  • insurance companies and their insureds to provide 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). 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.

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).

Should I File in Perry County Magisterial District Court

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. Magisterial District Court does not require an attorney.

Where Should I File a Perry 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 involved was signed or performance was made
  • the damage or accident involved happened
  • the property from the case is kept

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. You should also contact them to determine what the filing fee will be. You will pay the filing fee when you file the Complaint with the court. The form “Civil Complaint” need to be completed by the plaintiff. Note: if you need to include confidential information in your complaint, it is important to use the Confidential Information Form found on the same page.

Perry County Magisterial District 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. 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. 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). 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 this time, the plaintiff should present any evidence supporting the case including paperwork, receipts, records, photographs, or videos of the case. The court will then give the Defendant a chance to ask questions to 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 be given the chance 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 can also bring witnesses to provide testimony to the judge as well. Once all the evidence has been presented, the judge will either 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. 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.

Before Filing a Small Claims Court Claim in Perry County

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. In addition to the amount you are requesting, you should also set a reasonable deadline for the defendant to respond by. 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. 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. For help determining the proper name, you should contact Pennsylvania’s Corporation Bureau online or by phone at 717-787-1057. Before heading down to the courthouse to fill out your claim, you should have the following information:

  • name and address of the plaintiff
  • defendant’s name and address
  • the amount of the claim
  • 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. In addition to the filing fee, the plaintiff will have to pay a fee to have the Defendant 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).