Small Claims Court in Wayne County
Small Claims courts are in Pennsylvania are generally called Magisterial District Courts. In Magisterial District Court, a party is not required to have an attorney. 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. These costs can potentially be recovered by you if you win the case.
Where Should I File a Wayne County Small Claims Court Case?
The Pennsylvania courts are divided by county and then into districts. Each district has a 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 accident occurred
- 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 should also inquire from the clerk what the filing fee will be. The filing fee will be paid when the Complaint is filed 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).
Before Filing a Small Claims Court Claim in Wayne County
You should send a demand letter to the defendant asking for payment before filing your claim. 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. 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:
- name and address of the plaintiff
- name and address of the defendant
- 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)
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, 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.
After the Wayne County Magisterial District Court Hearing
If the plaintiff prevails, the defendant may arrange to make payments on a twelve month installment plan (which will be set by the judge). 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. The Notice of Appeal will be served on the Magisterial District Judge who made the decision along with the plaintiff. 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. If the judge rules for the defendant, the plaintiff can appeal this decision as well.
Types of Cases Handled by a Magisterial District Judge in Wayne County
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.
Filing a Case in Wayne County Magisterial District Court
A claim of $12,000 or less is also able to be filed in 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.
Wayne 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. 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. The hearing is open to the public and usually includes the following: judge, clerk, plaintiff, defendant, and any witnesses for either party. The courtroom is open to the public so anybody may be sitting in the gallery of the courtroom as well. At the beginning of the hearing, the Magisterial District Judge will explain the procedures. 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. 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. Once the plaintiff is done, the witnesses that the plaintiff brought will also be given a chance to provide testimony. The defendant will have the chance to ask questions for these witnesses too. 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 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.
Magisterial District Court in Wayne County
Wayne County has 3 Magisterial Districts which are:
The Magisterial District Judge for 22-3-01 is Bonnie L. Carney . The 22-3-01 Magisterial District courthouse is located at:Hawley Borough Building 94 Main Avenue PO Box 350 Hawley, PA 18428
The phone number for 22-3-01 Magisterial District is: 570-226-4981. The fax number for 22-3-01 Magisterial District is: 570-226-0829.
The Magisterial District Judge for 22-3-02 is Linus H. Myers . The 22-3-02 Magisterial District courthouse is located at:Wayne County Courthouse 925 Court Street Honesdale, PA 18431
The phone number for 22-3-02 Magisterial District is: 570-253-4560. The fax number for 22-3-02 Magisterial District is: 570-251-3629.
The Magisterial District Judge for 22-3-04 is Ronald J. Edwards . The 22-3-04 Magisterial District courthouse is located at:Route 247 1065 Creamton Drive Honesdale, PA 18431
The phone number for 22-3-04 Magisterial District is: 570-448-2061. The fax number for 22-3-04 Magisterial District is: 570-448-2057.
Wayne County Small Claims Court Case Types
Two types of civil cases are generally heard in Magisterial District Court in Wayne County: negligence and contract actions. 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:
- contractors and homeowner to make improvements
- insurance companies to provide insurance services
- credit services between a credit card company and a consumer
Breach of contract occurs when one party does not complete what they are required to do under the contract. Negligence is where a person or party has a responsibility to use reasonable care to protect others from damages and fails to do so. Negligence actions usually arise in an automobile accident or other times where someone sustains personal injuries or property damage.