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

State and Local Court Rules Must Be Followed.

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I Received a Notice of Appeal, what do I do?

If you were the one sued in Magisterial District Court (the Defendant), the other side (the Plaintiff) has to file a Complaint. The Complaint is a legal paper that tells the Court the details about why the Plaintiff feels you owe money. When the Plaintiff 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 Do I do if I am Served with the Complaint?

If the other side (the Plaintiff) files a Complaint, you must file an Answer with the Court within 20 days after you get the Complaint.

You must also give or send a copy of the Answer to the other side.

Although a lawyer is not required, it may be advisable to have a lawyer represent you. It is very difficult to prepare and file an Answer without a lawyer. This website tells you only the most basic steps that you have to follow. Sample Answer

What Happens if the Plaintiff does not file or serve the Complaint on me?

If the plaintiff fails to file and serve you with a Complaint within 20 days, you, the defendant must then send the plaintiff an Important Notice Plaintiff 237.1(a)(2) reminding the plaintiff to file a Complaint within 10 days.

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

I want to file a Praecipe for Judgment of Non Pros, what do I need to know?

Before you file a Praecipe for Judgment of Non-Pros, make sure:

  • more than 20 days have passed since the Notice of a Appeal was filed
  • the Plaintiff has not filed a Complaint
  • you mailed the Plaintiff the Important Notice to File a Complaint
  • the plaintiff then failed to file a complaint within the additional 10 days
  • you have the money for the filing fee to file this Praecipe
  • you attached a copy of the Important Notice to File a Complaint which you sent to the plaintiff 10 days earlier
  • you included a stamped envelope, addressed to the plaintiff

Praecipe for Judgment of Non-Pros pursuant to Pa. R.C.P. 1037.

If the other side does not file a Complaint and you get a Judgment of Non Pros, then the case is over. The other side may still have the right to start a new case against you. The other side may also ask the Common Pleas Court to "open" the judgment of Non Pros, if the other side can show a good reason for not filing the complaint on time.

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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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