Had a problem with your chocolate fix? Did Hershey do you wrong? This guide will provide you with all the steps you need to sue Hershey in small claims court. It's not as uncommon as you may think.
Who Will You Sue
The first thing you have to do before filing your Hersey lawsuit is make sure you sue the right party. If you had a bad experience with M&Ms, you won't be suing Hershey.
How Much Will You Sue For
The next thing you need to do is determine how much you seek to recover. If you lost $24.00 on a box of Hershey bars, you can't sue for $100 million. Of course, as you'll see, you can't sue for that amount in small claims anyhow. In any event, you need to determine how much you're looking to recover because it will figure in everything from this point on.
In Pennsylvania, you do not have to send a demand letter before filing. However, drafting a demand letter requires that you put together all the information required for your case in court and is thus a useful exercise. Not only that, but you may get lucky and the defendant will agree and pay the demand.
Dispute can help you generate and send a demand letter in minutes and 72% of Demand Letters receive a response.
Introduction to Suing Hersey in Small Claims Court
In Pennsylvania's version of Small Claims Court, you sue on a claim of $12,000 or less in the Magisterial District Court (MDC), where you don't need an attorney.
You can file in the MDC where the transaction took place, where you can serve the defendant, or where the defendant conducts business. You then look up the MDC Judge for your location in the phone book or at www.eriecounty.gov. Once you've found your judge, go to that judge's office and complete a Civil Complaint form.
Hershey is located in Derry Township in Dauphin County, Pennsylvania. It does business pretty much everywhere, but you would probably find it easiest to serve them in Dauphin County at their headquarters.
Civil Complaint Form
The Civil Complaint form requires:
- Your name, address, and phone
- Defendant's name, address, and phone
- Amount you are seeking
- Short statement of why you are seeking damages
When you file the Complaint in your Hershey lawsuit, you will pay a filing fee based on the amount of money you want and how you want to serve the defendant. You can serve the other parties by certified mail or with a Pennsylvania Constable. If you win, the defendant will have to pay for these costs.
Hearing & Decision
A hearing on the Complaint gets scheduled when the Complaint gets filed. Before the hearing, the defendant receives a copy of the Complaint. This service will also tell the defendant when and where the hearing will be held.
The MDC Judge conducts the hearing, where all parties can testify and present evidence and witnesses. The MDC Judge will issue a decision - or "judgment" - immediately after the hearing or within five days of it.
Either you or the defendant can appeal the MDC Judge's decision by filing a Notice of Appeal. This Notice gets filed with the Prothonotary at the Erie County Courthouse. You must file any appeal within thirty days of the decision. If either party files an appeal, the case begins all over again in the Court of Common Pleas and you must attempt to prove your case all over again.
If you lose and don't file a timely appeal, you cannot sue Hershey again on the same claim. The "same claim" means the incident or facts underlying your first claim.
Collecting on the Judgment
If you win and Hershey doesn't appeal but also doesn't pay the judgment, you have to go back to the MDC Judge and ask for an Order of Execution. The Order of Execution orders Hershey to pay you the judgment. You will have to pay additional costs for the Order. These costs include fees for the Constable to collect the judgment.