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Can you appeal a civil suit judgement

Harrisburg, PA |

I sued someone for a service they were suppose to do for me, publish some poems, they didn't give me back my poems on the flash drive I gave them or the books or money. The court said they only deal with monetary suits. The judge is making a decision in three days? I had the receipt so what is she deciding, they admitted I paid them so what is the judge deciding/ if I am ruled against can I refile the suit. what would be the reason for the judge to rule against me though I didn't get the service I paid for and didn't get my money back

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Attorney answers 2


If you filed your case in Small Claims court, then maybe you asked for a remedy that the court couldn't provide. You wanted return of your falsh drive, which is a remedy for a conversion laim, and the court could only award money damages.

It's likely that your suit will be dismissed without prejudice, meaning you can file it again in your court's Superior Court, or appeal it to the Superior Court if they have jurisdiction to award non-monetary damages.

Or maybe you can re-file this so it's just for money damages. If you have the poems on another drive or your computer's hard drive, then you don't need the flash drive back, and you just need money to replace the books they didn't return and the money you paid.

Disclaimer: I'm only licensed in CA. Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on, since each state has different laws, each situation is fact specific, and it is impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship.


In Pennsylvania, the Magisterial District Court is a Court of Limited Jurisdiction. The Court cannot grant equitable relief. This means that the court cannot order the defendant to "do something."

In the event that you lose the suit, you may file an appeal with the Court of Common Pleas within 30 days of the judgment being entered by the MDJ. You must file a Complaint. Unlike the MDJ, the Complaint filed in the Court of Common Pleas must be consistent with the more formal Rules of Civil Procedure. Therefore, you may wish to consult with an attorney to assist you.

Finally, please remember that the Defendant may file an appeal if he/she/it loses. After you are served with notice of the appeal, you must file a Complaint within 20 days or you may risk the dismissal of the suit. Again, the more formal Rules of Civil Procedure will apply. Therefore, it is important to have an attorney assist you.

In Pennsylvania, any appeal filed following an MDJ judgment must be submitted to mandatory arbitration. In other words, your case will be heard by three attorneys who will sit as "judge and jury." In the event you lose at arbitration, you may appeal the arbitration award and have the matter heard by a judge and jury.

Good luck.

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