Legal advice - regards lis pendens - Posted by Paul Macdonald

Posted by JPiper on January 16, 2000 at 12:16:31:

Here’s the bottom line…the property was sold. A lis pendens does NOT say the property can’t be sold. It simply WARNS that a lawsuit is pending…period. If the new buyer did not pull title work, he may not have been aware of the lis pendens…and therefore bought the property subject to the lis pendens. Then again, maybe the new buyer is aware of the lis pendens, evaluated your potential suit himself…and decided it wasn’t a risk. Or perhaps, he evaluated the suit, negotiated the price based on the suit…and bought the property. Even the title company could have run title work, picked up the lis pendens, and excepted it from it’s insurance…or perhaps insured around the potential suit as I mentioned earlier.

Lot’s of possibilities…and probably some I didn’t mention. Either way, if you have a case, and have the interest and money to pursue said case…everyone appears to be waiting on you. You can still sue for specific performance and/or damages.

What would I do? Can’t say…don’t know enough details on the case or on the property.


Legal advice - regards lis pendens - Posted by Paul Macdonald

Posted by Paul Macdonald on January 15, 2000 at 20:00:00:

Ok, I need direction again. I need to know which way to start shooting…

2 years ago put in an offer on raw land. Offer was accepted. With an incredibly good deal for myself. The next day got a call from the listing agent. Said, woops!, she forgot to tell me mine was a backup offer and sellers had accepted a better offer… long story short, I slapped a lis pendens on the property, we went to court, I won. I said cool, lets go to settlement… seller said bad things, I could go to you know where…

So I said fine, got busy with other things… two years went by with them refusing to sell to me when I’d write their attorney once or twice per year…

Mailed a letter two months ago to sellers attorney, said I’d had enough I was going to sue for specific performance and civil damages. Said I hoped the seller liked living in a cardboard box… no response.

Fine, last week I went into land records to get a copy of the plat of the property and gosh darn it it is now recorded in someone else?s name. B#$%^^ard went and sold it out from under me.

Is there a time limitation on Lis Pendens’s? And how many can I include in my civil law suit? The realtor, the seller, the title company, who else?

I’ve got a darn good attorney but for the first time I want one like Attila the Hun!

Any advice? And thanks for letting me vent.

Paul Macdonald

Re: Legal advice - regards lis pendens - Posted by JPiper

Posted by JPiper on January 16, 2000 at 07:32:35:

I?m confused.

The events were:

  1. You filed a lawsuit
  2. You recorded a lis pendens
  3. You went to court on the lawsuit
  4. You won

What exactly did you win? It appears that whatever you won gave you exactly 0 in results. But it equally appears that whatever you won concluded a lawsuit to which the lis pendens referred.

Perhaps whatever it is that you ?won? was insured around by the seller with the title company. I?ve done this many times for different things. For example, in the recent past a contractor filed a mechanics lien against me. A few weeks later I sold the property. I agreed to deposit a portion of my sales proceeds with the title company for the possible event that I would lose in court on the mechanics lien. The contractor never went to court, so the mechanics lien expired, and my deposit with the title company was returned according to an agreement I entered into with them. In other words, the title company ?insured around? the mechanic?s lien.

If your lis pendens still exists I would say that perhaps this is how the seller sold. However, it looks to me like it?s possible that the lawsuit that the lis pendens referred to was concluded?and as you say ?you won?. I?m just trying to figure out WHAT you won. Perhaps ?bragging rights? huh?

I would have assumed that the lawsuit that you filed originally was one for specific performance and/or damages under your contract. To have won that suit you would have proven that you had a valid contract, perhaps that the realtor entered into another contract on behalf of the seller AFTER your contract was effective, etc. Had you won that lawsuit in any court that I?m familiar with you would have won SOMETHING, like monetary damages, specific performance, or some combination thereof. Since you won neither, I?m gathering that whatever you filed suit for was something entirely different.

A lis pendens doesn?t just sit there blocking anything that may ever take place in the future on a property. It refers to a lawsuit pending?.a lawsuit that you say you had and was concluded favorably to you. So collect your winnings?whatever you won is over. The property was sold.

If there?s something I?m missing here?.please clarify.


Re: Legal advice - regards lis pendens - Posted by chris

Posted by chris on January 15, 2000 at 20:39:14:

Maybe the new buyer could be included. The seller should have disclosed this cloud to them and it should have turned up on a title search. Most likely the buyer agreed to buy the property with this title flaw.

Go get 'em Paul!

Re: Legal advice - regards lis pendens - Posted by Kerry_IL

Posted by Kerry_IL on January 15, 2000 at 20:21:10:

Just yesterday I was asking a similar question.

Yesterday morning I went to the courthouse to do a quick check on a property I’m looking at. I found a lis pendens from 1985.

My next stop was across the street at the title co to ask if something that old was still good. Their attorney said a lis pendens was good for 7 or 8 years, anything older than that was of no concern.

I’m sure this is a matter of state law. I’ll be interested to know what your attorney says.


Re: Legal advice - regards lis pendens - Posted by Paul Macdonald

Posted by Paul Macdonald on January 16, 2000 at 11:17:43:

I like bragging but this was not done in an effort to have another brag. Money was tight, I spent my down payment on the attorney, so follow up was limited to letters.

The events as they unfolded after I received the ratified contract:

  1. Realtor said I was junior to a contract signed and dated after mine.
  2. I filed a Lis Pendens.
  3. Seller filed in court to blow the lis pendens out so he could sell to higher contract.
  4. Judge told them to forget it and honor the contract. Judge said seller and seller?s attorney should be ashamed for trying to do what they were doing.
  5. Seller told me through his attorney it would be a cold day in h*ll when they sold to me.
  6. My attorney told me (as I understood what he said ? until this came up I had never heard of a lis pendens) they could not sell the property until I released the lis pendens. And to get the property all I had to do was file for specific performance for $2,500 (his fee). I thought I?d save money by waiting until the seller gave in. Every 9 or 10 months I?d send them a letter saying let?s close the deal so you can get your money.
  7. Two months ago the property was sold.

?So collect your winnings?whatever you won is over. The property was sold.? Are you saying that the lis pendens is dead (according to county land records it is still valid)? And that because I put this on the back burner I?m S.O.L.?

What would you do in this case?

Paul Macdonald

Re: Legal advice - regards lis pendens - Posted by Alex Gurevich, TX

Posted by Alex Gurevich, TX on January 18, 2000 at 15:46:13:

I’m not an attorney, but I’ve explored a bit filing a lis pendence on an occassion where a seller did not want to honor the Contract.

What I discovered by contacting a highly recommended prominent trial attorney (mind you, I am in Texas, your state law can be different), that I’d have to file a lawsuit first, and only then I’d be able to file a lis pendence, but not until.

In your sequence of events, you indicated that you filed lis pendence but you never actually had a legitimate law suit filed. Perhaps, that’s why the property was sold “around it” as Jim explained. The fact that it’s recorded may have not been enough, since it did not link to any suit filed by you.

Since I didn’t file a lawsuit, I ended up filing a Contract for records.