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Received a Notice of Appeal - Plaintiff
Self Help - Lehigh County Court of Common Pleas

State and Local Court Rules Must Be Followed.

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I won at the MDJ but now I received a Notice of Appeal from the defendant, what do I do?

You, the plaintiff, must follow the court rules and file and serve a Complaint in the Court of Common Pleas. Sample Complaint

    Rules for Complaint Format and Requirements for Legal Papers
  • Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure are available at See Rule 204.1 Pleadings and Other Legal Paper. Format and Rule 205.2. Filing Legal Papers with the Prothonotary
  • Lehigh County Rules are available at See Rule 205.2(a) Filing of Legal Papers with the Clerk of Courts
How long do I have to file the Complaint?

When the defendant files a Notice of Appeal, the plaintiff has 20 days in which to file a Complaint with the Clerk of Judicial Records, Civil Division in the Court of Common Pleas.

What happens if I do not file or serve the Complaint?

If you, the plaintiff, fail to file and serve a Complaint within 20 days, the defendant must then send the plaintiff a notice reminding the plaintiff to file a Complaint within 10 days.

If the plaintiff fails to file and serve a Complaint after receiving the notice, the defendant can then file a praecipe for Judgment of Non-Pros pursuant to Pa. R.C.P. 1037. If this happens, after you failed to file a complaint you will lose the case for failing to file a complaint.

What happens after I file and serve the Complaint?

The defendant must file an Answer to your Complaint within 20 days.

If the defendant fails to file and serve an Answer within 20 days, the plaintiff must then send a notice reminding the defendant to file an Answer within 10 days. Important Notice Defendant 237.1(a)(2)

If the defendant fails to file an Answer after receiving the notice, you, the plaintiff can then file a Praecipe for Default Judgment pursuant to Pa. R.C.P. 1037.

What happens if the Complaint and Answer are properly filed?

Assuming the plaintiff files a Complaint and the defendant files an Answer, the case usually proceeds to an arbitration hearing before a panel of three lawyers appointed by the court to act as judge. The arbitration panel listens to the evidence and makes a decision based on that evidence.

Since there is no transcript or record of testimony or evidence made in the Magisterial District Court, the case is heard again, as if there had never been a hearing in the Magisterial District Court.

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The forms and instructions that are available from this website are not a substitute for professional legal advice. Court employees cannot give you legal advice or help you fill out /complete the forms. It is your responsibility to read and complete the forms and to take required steps to file and serve the documents. If you decide to use these forms in an actual action, be prepared to spend appropriate time gathering information, completing forms and following the Rules of Court. The Court assumes no responsibility for the use of these forms and accepts no liability for actions taken by using these documents, including reliance on the instructions and/or contents. To obtain legal advice and to insure the proper use of this material, you should contact a lawyer.

If you want to obtain the service of an attorney, but do not know whom to contact, you should visit the Lehigh Bar Association's Lawyer Referral Service website.

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