Washington County Small Claims Court, Pennsylvania


Magisterial District Court in Washington County

Washington County has 11 Magisterial Districts which are:

27-1-01

The Magisterial District Judge for 27-1-01 is Robert W. Redlinger . The 27-1-01 Magisterial District courthouse is located at:

90 West Chestnut Street, Suite 200
Washington, PA 15301

The phone number for 27-1-01 Magisterial District is: 724-228-8836. The fax number for 27-1-01 Magisterial District is: 724-228-6218.

27-1-02

The Magisterial District Judge for 27-1-02 is Mark A. Wilson . The 27-1-02 Magisterial District courthouse is located at:

604-B Park Avenue
Monongahela, PA 15063

The phone number for 27-1-02 Magisterial District is: 724-258-5106. The fax number for 27-1-02 Magisterial District is: 724-258-5145.

27-1-03

The Magisterial District Judge for 27-1-03 is Larry W. Hopkins . The 27-1-03 Magisterial District courthouse is located at:

416 Fallowfield Avenue
Charleroi, PA 15022

The phone number for 27-1-03 Magisterial District is: 724-483-6373. The fax number for 27-1-03 Magisterial District is: 724-483-3550.

27-2-01

The Magisterial District Judge for 27-2-01 is David W. Mark . The 27-2-01 Magisterial District courthouse is located at:

68 East Pike Street, Suite 205
Canonsburg, PA 15317

The phone number for 27-2-01 Magisterial District is: 724-745-5754. The fax number for 27-2-01 Magisterial District is: 724-745-5763.

27-3-01

The Magisterial District Judge for 27-3-01 is Jesse D. Pettit . The 27-3-01 Magisterial District courthouse is located at:

453 Valleybrook Road, Suite 100
McMurray, PA 15317

The phone number for 27-3-01 Magisterial District is: 724-941-1015. The fax number for 27-3-01 Magisterial District is: 724-942-8355.

27-3-02

The Magisterial District Judge for 27-3-02 is Curtis L. Thompson . The 27-3-02 Magisterial District courthouse is located at:

900 Main Street, Suite 120
Bentleyville, PA 15314

The phone number for 27-3-02 Magisterial District is: 724-239-5050. The fax number for 27-3-02 Magisterial District is: 724-239-5522.

27-3-03

The Magisterial District Judge for 27-3-03 is Joshua P. Kanalis . The 27-3-03 Magisterial District courthouse is located at:

685 National Pike West
Brownsville, PA 15417

The phone number for 27-3-03 Magisterial District is: 724-632-3143. The fax number for 27-3-03 Magisterial District is: 724-632-3160.

27-3-05

The Magisterial District Judge for 27-3-05 is Jay H. Weller . The 27-3-05 Magisterial District courthouse is located at:

1929-A Route 519 South
Canonsburg, PA 15317

The phone number for 27-3-05 Magisterial District is: 724-746-1227. The fax number for 27-3-05 Magisterial District is: 724-746-3145.

27-3-06

The Magisterial District Judge for 27-3-06 is Traci L. McDonald . The 27-3-06 Magisterial District courthouse is located at:

Cecil Town Center, Suite D
3441 Millers Run Road
Cecil, PA 15321

The phone number for 27-3-06 Magisterial District is: 724-746-8515. The fax number for 27-3-06 Magisterial District is: 724-746-2501.

27-3-07

The Magisterial District Judge for 27-3-07 is Gary H. Havelka . The 27-3-07 Magisterial District courthouse is located at:

2038 Smith Township State Road, Suite 3
Burgettstown, PA 15021

The phone number for 27-3-07 Magisterial District is: 724-947-5492. The fax number for 27-3-07 Magisterial District is: 724-947-5523.

27-3-10

The Magisterial District Judge for 27-3-10 is Ethan T. Ward . The 27-3-10 Magisterial District courthouse is located at:

200 Buffalo Center Lane, Suite C
Washington, PA 15301

The phone number for 27-3-10 Magisterial District is: 724-222-8122. The fax number for 27-3-10 Magisterial District is: 724-225-4357.

Where Can a Small Claims Court Case Be Filed?

Each county in Pennsylvania (except for Philadelphia) is divided into districts. Each district has a 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 involved was signed or performance was made
  • the damage or accident involved happened
  • 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 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. 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.

Prior to Filing a Small Claims Court Claim in Washington County Magisterial District Court

You should send a demand letter to the defendant asking for payment before filing your claim. A demand letter can be the cheapest and quickest way of resolving your situation. In addition to the amount you are requesting, you should also set a reasonable deadline for the defendant to respond by. 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 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
  • defendant’s name and address
  • the amount of money you are filing your claim for (including all expenses)
  • brief statement about why the plaintiff is entitled to the amount of the claim (you should include specifics like locations and dates to assist the court and the defendant from learning what the case is about)

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. Additionally, you can pay the filing costs in person (which can be recovered if you prevail in your lawsuit). 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. Personal service can be more expensive than certified mail but can be quicker than certified mail.

What is a Magisterial District Judge?

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).

Washington County Magisterial District Court Appeal

If the plaintiff wins at the hearing, the judge may set up a twelve month installment plan for payments from the Defendant. The defendant has thirty days to appeal the Magisterial District Judge’s decision to Common Pleas Court. If there is an appeal, a Notice of Appeal is filed with the prothonotary in 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 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.

Small Claims Court in Washington County

Washington County Small Claims Court

Washington 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 claim, or amount in controversy, cannot exceed $12,000.00. The plaintiff is required to file a filing fee when filing the complaint. 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.

Filing a Case in Washington County Magisterial District Court

Claims for $12,000 or less can also be filed at the Common Pleas Court. But, the Magisterial District Courts are less formal, less expensive, and faster than common pleas courts. Additionally, you need an attorney to file your case in the court of common pleas. In Magisterial District Court, an attorney is not required.

Types of Cases in Washington County Small Claims Court

Most cases filed in small claims court in Washington 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 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.

Washington 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. 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. At the hearing, the judge will give the plaintiff an opportunity to testify about the circumstances surrounding the case. The plaintiff can present papers, bills, records, receipts, photographs, or video to the judge. 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 done presenting his or her case, the judge will give the defendant an opportunity to testify (and the plaintiff will be given the chance to ask questions as well). 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).