Pennsylvania Small Claims Court: An Overview

From maximum dollar limits to statutes of limitations, learn the basics about small claims court in Pennsylvania.

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What's the dollar limit for small claims court cases in Pennsylvania?

The most you can ask for in a small claims case is $12,000.

Which court hears small claims cases in Pennsylvania?

Small claims cases in Pennsylvania are heard in the District Justice Court or Philadelphia Municipal Court.

What is the statute of limitations period for filing a claim in small claims court in Pennsylvania?

For information on Pennsylvania's statute of limitation periods for claims related to written contracts, oral contracts, injuries, and property damage, see Nolo's 50-state Statutes of Limitations chart.

How long does the defendant have to answer the small claims court complaint?

In Pennsylvania, the defendant must file a counterclaim at least five days before the hearing date (District Justice Court), or at least 10 days before trial date (Philadelphia Municipal Court), but the defendant's counterclaim can't exceed the court's dollar limit.

Are attorneys allowed in small claims court in Pennsylvania?

You are allowed to have an attorney represent you in small claims court in Pennsylvania.

Can a landlord bring an eviction lawsuit in small claims court in Pennsylvania?

Eviction cases are allowed in small claims court in Pennsylvania.

Do I have a right to a jury trial in small claims court in Pennsylvania?

In Pennsylvania, either party can request a jury trial, and the case will be transferred to district justice court. In Philadelphia Municipal Court, jury trials are not allowed in small claims court except on appeal; also, if the claim is more than $2,000 for personal injury or property damage, the statement of claim must be signed under oath.

Where can I get more information about small claims court in Pennsylvania?

For more information about Pennsylvania small claims court, see http://fjd.phila.gov/municipal/civil/ [Philadelphia].

Nolo's Small Claims Court area has many helpful related articles. For more detailed help with filing a case, using the best strategy in court, and collecting your money if you win, see Everybody's Guide to Small Claims Court, by Attorney Ralph Warner (Nolo).

Updated: October 1, 2015

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