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Andrea, Esq.
Andrea, Esq., Attorney
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I missed a continued hearing date in Landlord-tenant co (Municipal

Customer Question

I missed a continued hearing date in Landlord-tenant co (Municipal Court, Philadelphia). I was attacked in my apartment on March 10th and suffered from PTSD as a result. One of the medications makes me very drowsy so I couldn't get out of bed to go into court last Thursday. On the original hearing date, via fax, I submitted a letter from the treating Psychologist and asked for a continuance to get a copy of the Police Report and a letter from the treating psychiatrist, which I still don't have because he went on vacation for this weekend. I haven't been able to function normally and completely unable to work since the attack. They're trying to evict me and collect past due rent for April and May (and soon June). I didn't get notice via mail of the Continuation. I knew it was granted for May 27th because I called Landlord-Tenant Court the day after I submitted the request but wasn't told the time or courtroom. Don't know if default judgment entered. Is there anything I can do now
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Andrea, Esq. replied 6 years ago.

If a new date was granted, then just go to Court on that date. If you feel you cannot attend, you might try sending someone in your place, not to argue your case, but to explain your circumstances. There is no guarantee, however, that the Judge will grant another hearing date and there is no way of knowing this in advance.


If a default judgment was entered against you, you can appeal to the Court of Common Pleas and you will have a de novo trial which means that it will be a new hearing as if nothing happened at the Landlord-Tenant Court level. They have the Appeal forms in the Prothonotary's Office. They have shortened the time within which a party can appeal in landlord-tenant cases to 10 days, so if there is a default judgment, you should file your appeal quickly.


You can call the Municipal Court, give them the case number XXXXX the upper right hand corner of the Complaint and ask the clerk what the status of the case is.







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Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Hello Andrea,
Thank you for your answer. I will Accept it and leave feedback but I need more clarification.

The hearing was already continued as per my request and was already scheduled last Thursday so I already missed it. I was wondering what I could do this morning to try to have another hearing scheduled instead of getting a default judgment. Doesn't the court have the right to change its own orders - so could it change its default judgment if I sent them a fax with the copy of the police report attached and giving them the name and contact information of the doctor and explain that he was out of town for the holiday and I would like them to change their order and grant a one-week continuance until next week to get his letter to them?

Or is an appeal to CCP for a de novo hearing from a default judgment the only option at this point.

I also never actually received notice by mail about the continued hearing date, time and courtroom. I only knew the date because I happened to call the L-T court and ask them the day after I faxed my Continuance request, which was at the exact time of the hearing itself but it was what they told me to go ahead and do.
Expert:  Andrea, Esq. replied 6 years ago.

I apologize for the delay, but I was in the Court of Common Pleas in Media from this morning until now.


Municipal Court Judges in Philadelphia and Magisterial District Justices in the various counties rarely, if ever, set aside default judgments because they know that the party against whom the default judgment was entered has recourse to a trial de novo and would be unfair to the other party who appeared for the hearing. I do not necessarily agree with this practice, but that is what the judges' reasoning is for not setting aside a default judgment and have a new hearing all over again. So, unfortunately, your recourse is to file an appeal and get a trial de novo.









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Expert:  Andrea, Esq. replied 6 years ago.

I found some favorable information because I continued to do more research on your question of default judgments in Landlord-Tenant cases in Philadelphia County.



The Petition to Open Default Judgment is filed with the Philadelphia Municipal Court Judgment and Petition Unit. You must state in the Petition to Open Default Judgment that you are asking the Court to set aside the Judgment and to please schedule a new hearing date.


[To determine the fee call the Judgment & Petition Unit of the Philadelphia Municipal Court.] Please remember that the decision to grant a new court hearing date is not automatic and is strictly up to the Judge. Be sure to include enough information to convince the Judge there is a very good reason to set aside the Default Judgment. You must state very clearly all of the following in your Petition :


TYou are filing the Petition within 30 days of the default judgment [if possible file within 10 days of the hearing];


A good reason for failing to be at the hearing - Note, attach copies of whatever medical evidence you have. Keep the originals so that you can show them to the Judge, if a new hearing is granted




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