York County Small Claims Court, Pennsylvania


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).

Types of Cases in York County Small Claims Court

Two types of civil cases are generally heard in Magisterial District Court in York County: negligence and contract actions. A contract is where two parties enter into an agreement (either written or oral). Contracts are used frequently and arise in many contexts including:

  • contractors and homeowner to make improvements
  • insurance companies and their insureds to provide 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. These actions usually include traffic accidents or other types of situations resulting in personal injury or property damage.

Where Can a Small Claims Court Case Be Filed?

The Pennsylvania courts are divided by county and then 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 accident occurred
  • 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. 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 complaint form can be found under “Civil Complaint” here. 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.

Small Claims Court in York County

York County Small Claims Court

York County Small Claims Court

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. The plaintiff is required to file a filing fee when filing the complaint. 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.

Small Claims Court Hearings in York County Magisterial District Court

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. Prior to the hearing, you should gather all documents and papers related to your case. 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. 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 case (or calendar), the Magisterial District Judge will usually briefly explain the procedures used at the hearing. 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. 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.

York County Magisterial Districts

York County has 19 Magisterial Districts which are:

19-1-01

The Magisterial District Judge for 19-1-01 is Linda Lou Williams . The 19-1-01 Magisterial District courthouse is located at:

1285 East Princess Street
York, PA 17403

The phone number for 19-1-01 Magisterial District is: 717-771-4786. The fax number for 19-1-01 Magisterial District is: 717-771-4785.

19-1-02

The Magisterial District Judge for 19-1-02 is James H. Morgan . The 19-1-02 Magisterial District courthouse is located at:

1215 Roosevelt Avenue
York, PA 17404

The phone number for 19-1-02 Magisterial District is: 717-771-4792. The fax number for 19-1-02 Magisterial District is: 717-771-4791.

19-1-03

The Magisterial District Judge for 19-1-03 is Dwayne Dubs . The 19-1-03 Magisterial District courthouse is located at:

203 Dart Drive
Hanover, PA 17331

The phone number for 19-1-03 Magisterial District is: 717-632-4565. The fax number for 19-1-03 Magisterial District is: 717-632-0373.

19-1-04

The Magisterial District Judge for 19-1-04 is Ronald J. Haskell . The 19-1-04 Magisterial District courthouse is located at:

232 South George Street (Rear)
York, PA 17401

The phone number for 19-1-04 Magisterial District is: 717-771-4798. The fax number for 19-1-04 Magisterial District is: 717-771-4797.

19-1-05

The Magisterial District Judge for 19-1-05 is Joel N. Toluba . The 19-1-05 Magisterial District courthouse is located at:

745 West Mason Avenue
York, PA 17401

The phone number for 19-1-05 Magisterial District is: 717-771-4796. The fax number for 19-1-05 Magisterial District is: 717-771-9538.

19-2-01

The Magisterial District Judge for 19-2-01 is Barry L. Bloss . The 19-2-01 Magisterial District courthouse is located at:

118 Pleasant Acres Road
York, PA 17402

The phone number for 19-2-01 Magisterial District is: 717-840-7233. The fax number for 19-2-01 Magisterial District is: 717-840-7200.

19-2-02

The Magisterial District Judge for 19-2-02 is Scott E. Laird . The 19-2-02 Magisterial District courthouse is located at:

2756-A South Queen Street
Dallastown, PA 17313

The phone number for 19-2-02 Magisterial District is: 717-747-5100. The fax number for 19-2-02 Magisterial District is: 717-747-5103.

19-2-03

The Magisterial District Judge for 19-2-03 is Keith L. Albright . The 19-2-03 Magisterial District courthouse is located at:

390 East Berlin Road
York, PA 17408

The phone number for 19-2-03 Magisterial District is: 717-793-5200. The fax number for 19-2-03 Magisterial District is: 717-793-5225.

19-2-04

The Magisterial District Judge for 19-2-04 is Jeffrey L. Oberdorf . The 19-2-04 Magisterial District courthouse is located at:

3202 Farmtrail Road
York, PA 17406

The phone number for 19-2-04 Magisterial District is: 717-767-5700. The fax number for 19-2-04 Magisterial District is: 717-767-5702.

19-2-05

The Magisterial District Judge for 19-2-05 is Jennifer J. Patton Clancy . The 19-2-05 Magisterial District courthouse is located at:

1410 Sixth Avenue
York, PA 17403

The phone number for 19-2-05 Magisterial District is: 717-845-5508. The fax number for 19-2-05 Magisterial District is: 717-854-5537.

19-3-01

The Magisterial District Judge for 19-3-01 is John H. Fishel . The 19-3-01 Magisterial District courthouse is located at:

2997 Cape Horn Road
Red Lion, PA 17356

The phone number for 19-3-01 Magisterial District is: 717-244-4002. The fax number for 19-3-01 Magisterial District is: 717-246-1533.

19-3-03

The Magisterial District Judge for 19-3-03 is Laura S. Manifold . The 19-3-03 Magisterial District courthouse is located at:

72 North Main Street, Suite 2
Stewartstown, PA 17363

The phone number for 19-3-03 Magisterial District is: 717-993-6721. The fax number for 19-3-03 Magisterial District is: 717-993-9648.

19-3-04

The Magisterial District Judge for 19-3-04 is Lindy L. Sweeney . The 19-3-04 Magisterial District courthouse is located at:

165 Fairview Court
New Freedom, PA 17349

The phone number for 19-3-04 Magisterial District is: 717-227-0688. The fax number for 19-3-04 Magisterial District is: 717-235-3582.

19-3-05

The Magisterial District Judge for 19-3-05 is Jeffrey A. Sneeringer . The 19-3-05 Magisterial District courthouse is located at:

20 Wayne Avenue, Suite 2
Hanover, PA 17331

The phone number for 19-3-05 Magisterial District is: 717-632-0618. The fax number for 19-3-05 Magisterial District is: 717-632-1418.

19-3-06

The Magisterial District Judge for 19-3-06 is Thomas J. Reilly . The 19-3-06 Magisterial District courthouse is located at:

4824 Walters Hatchery Road
Spring Grove, PA 17362

The phone number for 19-3-06 Magisterial District is: 717-225-3301. The fax number for 19-3-06 Magisterial District is: 717-225-3307.

19-3-07

The Magisterial District Judge for 19-3-07 is David C. Eshbach . The 19-3-07 Magisterial District courthouse is located at:

2990 Grenway Road
Dover, PA 17315

The phone number for 19-3-07 Magisterial District is: 717-767-5708. The fax number for 19-3-07 Magisterial District is: 717-767-5720.

19-3-09

The Magisterial District Judge for 19-3-09 is Scott J. Gross . The 19-3-09 Magisterial District courthouse is located at:

700 Yorktown Road
Lewisberry, PA 17339

The phone number for 19-3-09 Magisterial District is: 717-938-2523. The fax number for 19-3-09 Magisterial District is: 717-938-4092.

19-3-10

The Magisterial District Judge for 19-3-10 is Richard T. Thomas . The 19-3-10 Magisterial District courthouse is located at:

126 West Harrisburg Street, Suite 200
PO Box 415
Dillsburg, PA 17019

The phone number for 19-3-10 Magisterial District is: 717-432-3618. The fax number for 19-3-10 Magisterial District is: 717-432-7695.

19-3-11

The Magisterial District Judge for 19-3-11 is Robert A. Eckenrode . The 19-3-11 Magisterial District courthouse is located at:

202 Rosedale Drive
York, PA 17345

The phone number for 19-3-11 Magisterial District is: 717-266-6891. The fax number for 19-3-11 Magisterial District is: 717-266-6895.

York County Magisterial District Court Appeal

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 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 Notice of Appeal will prevent the plaintiff from taking any steps to collect money from the defendant until the appeal is decided. If the plaintiff does not prevail at the initial hearing, the plaintiff has the option of appealing the Magisterial District Judge’s decision as well.

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

Prior to filing a claim, it is recommended that you send a demand letter to the defendant asking for payment. This is usually the quickest and easiest way to resolve your dispute. Make sure you set a reasonable deadline in your letter for the defendant to comply by. If the demand letter does not resolve your case, you can consider filing your case. It is also important to know the name and address of the party you wish to file your action against. The court clerk is unable to accept a Post Office Box for an 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 heading down to the courthouse to fill out your claim, you should have the following information:

  • plaintiff’s name and address
  • name and address of the person you want to sue
  • the amount of money you are filing your claim for (including all expenses)
  • short statement of facts surrounding the circumstances of the case (including dates and locations)

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. 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, 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). A Defendant can be served by certified mail or in person by a deputy sheriff or constable. Service by certified mail is cheaper but might not be as quick as personal service by a sheriff or constable.

Filing a Case in York 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. The Common Pleas Court requires an attorney to handle your case. In Magisterial District Court, an attorney is not required.