A lis pendens is a recorded legal instrument which serves as constructive notice under Texas Property Code Sections 12.007 and 12.008 that an action or suit affecting a specified piece of real estate has been commenced in a federal or state court and is pending. The term is a Latin term meaning "action pending".
Notice of lis pendens is the common-law doctrine that a pending suit is notice to all the world, so that one who purchases property involved in the litigation takes it subject to and is bound by the judgment rendered therein.
A lis pendens is not a lien, but rather a notice of a possible interest in the property. Recording the lis pendens gives notice to all interested parties, such as prospective purchasers and lenders, and establishes a priority for the later interest in the property which dates back to the date in which the lis pendens was recorded.
In order to provide constructive notice so that the property cannot be freely sold or encumbered while the action is pending, the notice provided by a lis pendens must set forth (1) the style/ number of the proceeding (2) the court in which the proceeding is pending (3) the parties' names (4) the kind of the proceeding, and (5) a legal description of the property.
Under Texas Law,
A purchaser for value is charged with notice of a pending suit.
The notice of lis pendens must be filed in the real property records.(Sect. 12.008 Texas Property Code).
Frequently, a lis pendens is filed when only a monetary judgment is sought and title to real property is not an issue. Although the validity of such a lis pendens is questionable at best, litigation costs in defending agent attacks of title are so prohibitive that Company Policy requires a court order canceling the lis pendens (at least as to the subject property).
Expunction of Lis Pendens
Effective September 1, 2009.
Changes/actions required: You may rely on a final court order expunging a lis pendens and remove from or not take exception to it on your commitment or policies. If no order of expunction is filed in the public record, you must continue to exercise sound business judgment in accordance with Virtual Underwriter Section 11.24.1 and obtain a release of the real property to be insured from the lis pendens.