Currently, we are accepting new cases in person. Appointments are preferred.
Before starting a small claims case, you should decide if the court is the best way to resolve your issue. You can solve many disagreements with other methods, like mediation. Contact Good Shepherd to learn more or find a mediator for your issue.
You will need different documents depending on the case you are submitting. There are two types of small claims cases: Contract Actions and Negligence Actions. Learn more about Contract Actions and Negligence Actions. Make sure you have your documents ready and include them when you submit your case. You will need to include copies for the court and for the other side. You may not have all the documents listed. Do your best to collect what you have so you can show the court and support your case.
If you have documents that you did not submit with your original case you can still use them. Send them to the other side at least 10 days before your hearing.
Contract Action Documents
Negligence Action Documents
The court tells the other side to give you documents
If there are documents you need to support your case, you can ask for them. You should try and ask the other side for the documents first. If they will not or are unable to give you the documents, you can ask them with a court form. This is called a subpoena. A subpoena means they need to give you the documents. If they do not give you the documents, they might be arrested or have to pay a fine. You can ask for documents from anyone by giving them a completed Subpoena Form.
Here is how you fill out a Subpoena form:
If you have any questions, please contact the First Filing Unit at 215-686-2901
Because you are suing someone else, you are called the plaintiff. The other side is called the defendant. Make sure you know the name and address of the other side you want to sue. Do not include titles such as Mr. or Ms. The address cannot be a post office box. If the other side is a corporation or other organization, make sure you have the correct name.
It is important to make sure you are including the correct organization in your lawsuit. For more information on organizations in Pennsylvania, contact Pennsylvania’s Corporation Bureau. You can check if an organization has a Philadelphia business privilege license. Contact the Department of Licenses and Inspections’ License Issuance Unit to learn more. You will need the business address and the name of the right person at the business to sue them.
Once the court processes the case, you will receive a packet of information. This packet will have your case files, relevant forms, and affidavits (sworn statements). It will also include instructions to create a Case Participant Account. A Case Participant Account allows you to view your confidential documents and other information online.
Relisting a case means you are trying to submit the case again. There are a few reasons this might happen. When you submit a case, you must tell the other side that they are being sued (this is called service of process). To learn more about how to tell someone about a lawsuit, watch this short video. Sometimes the other side cannot be contacted. Other times, a case may be dismissed or ended early. This can happen if there are mistakes or errors in the case. This is called “dismissed without prejudice”. If your case was dismissed without prejudice, you can fix any issues with your case and then submit it again.
You can relist a case with the Second Filing Unit.
1339 Chestnut Street, 10th floor, Philadelphia, PA 19107
You got a Statement of Claim because someone is suing you. They sued you because they think you owe them money. The Statement of Claim says why the person thinks you owe them money. Read the Statement of Claim carefully so you understand what the other side is saying. You got a Statement of Claim because someone is suing you. They sued you because they think you owe them money. The Statement of Claim says why the person thinks you owe them money. Read the Statement of Claim carefully so you understand what the other side is saying.
On the left side of the Statement of Claim under the heading “Summons to the Defendant,” you will find the date, time and location of the hearing. All hearings are in a courtroom on the 6th floor of the Widener Building, 1339 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107. It is important that you show up on time. If you are late, you might automatically lose the case.
If you want to reschedule your hearing date, you need to ask the court in writing at least 10 days before the hearing. This is called making a request for a continuance.
If you do not ask to reschedule the hearing at least 10 days in advance, you must go to the hearing in person. At the hearing, you can ask to reschedule it. You must tell the other parties in advance that you plan to request a continuance at the hearing.
No. The Municipal Court is designed so that you can go through the legal process without a lawyer. If you decide that you want a lawyer, you can contact the Philadelphia Bar Association’s Lawyer Referral and Information Service at (215) 238-6333. You might qualify for a free lawyer or free legal advice.
If you want to challenge the lawsuit because you don’t think you should have to pay the other side, complete the Notice to Defend.
By filing this notice, you are telling the court three things:
If you think that the Municipal Court is not where you should be sued, please call Court Administration at 215-686-2910 as soon as possible. This might happen if you are not a resident of Philadelphia or if your case is for more than the $12,000 limit of Municipal Court. Staff will explain how to submit a letter to notify the court.
If you believe that you have a claim against the person who sued you or you believe that another person should be a party to the action, please call the Fist Filing Unit at 215-686-7988 as soon as possible and a member of the court’s staff will explain to you how to submit a counterclaim, cross-claim, or additional claim. The court does not require or accept what you may have heard described as an Answer, New Matter, or Preliminary Objections.
You should bring all documents and witnesses that support your case. Documents can include letters, canceled checks, bills of sale, contracts, agreements, canceled checks, photographs, account books, and paid bill receipts. Documents should be printed and not on a cell phone. Make sure you bring copies of all documents for the other side.
If you do not show up for your hearing you risk losing your case. This is called a Default Judgment. Learn more about how to reschedule your hearing.
If you represent an organization, you must be an executive officer (President, Vice President, Secretary, or Treasurer). Bring proof that you are allowed to speak for the organization. Proof could be things like articles of incorporation showing that you are an officer of the corporation. You may also complete and bring an Authorized Representative Form.
Call the court at 215-686-2910 or come to the court at 1339 Chestnut Street, 10th floor, Room 1000
Call 215-686-7000 for general court information.