In a recent California Court of Appeals, Third Appellate District Opinion the Court issued an alternative writ on the novel issue of the application of the California lis pendens statutes to out-of-state litigation. The court held that California’s our lis pendens statutes do not apply to a notice of litigation in the courts of another state. A copy of the opinion can be found at http://www.metnews.com/sos.cgi?1208%2FC058894.
As background, a lis pendens is a written notice that a lawsuit has been filed which concerns the title to real property or some interest in that real property. The lis pendens or notice of pendency of action is recorded with the county recorder’s office and puts potential buyers on notice of the litigation concerning title to that property.
This recent ruling is important because it means that if title to California real property is being litigated in another state, the plaintiff no longer will have the option to record a lis pendens in California. This will force litigants to chose California when filing their lawsuits in order to preserve this important pre-judgment tool.
The power to record a lis pendens is a very powerful tool for a plaintiff in a real property dispute concerning title – one that should be not dismissed lightly.