What is Lis Pendens?

Legal Definition
In United States law, a lis pendens is a written notice that a lawsuit has been filed concerning real estate, involving either the title to the property or a claimed ownership interest in it. The notice is usually filed in the county land records office. Recording a lis pendens against a piece of property alerts a potential purchaser or lender that the property’s title is in question, which makes the property less attractive to a buyer or lender. Once the notice is filed, anyone who nevertheless purchases the land or property described in the notice takes possession of it is subject to the ultimate decision of the lawsuit.

Lis pendens is Latin for "suit pending". This may refer to any pending lawsuit or to a specific situation with a public notice of litigation that has been recorded in the same location where the title of real property has been recorded. This notice secures a plaintiff's claim on the property so that a sale, mortgage, or encumbrance of the property will not diminish plaintiff's rights to the property, should the plaintiff prevail in its case. In some jurisdictions, when the notice is properly recorded, lis pendens is considered constructive notice to other litigants or other unrecorded or subordinate lienholders.

The recording office will record a lis pendens upon request of anyone who claims to be entitled to do so (e.g. because he has filed a lawsuit). If someone else with an interest in the property (e.g. the owner) believes the lis pendens is not proper, he can then file suit to have it expunged.

Some states' lis pendens statutes require the filer of the notice, in the event of a challenge to the notice, to establish that it has probable cause or a reasonable likelihood of success on the merits of its case in the underlying lawsuit. Other states do not have such a requirement.
-- Wikipedia
Legal Definition
The pendancy of a suit; the time between which it is instituted and finally decided.

2. It has been decided that the mere serving of a subpoena in chancery, unless a bill be also filed, is not a sufficient lis pendens, but the bill being filed, the lis pendens commences from the service of the subpoena, although that may not be returnable till the following term 1 Vern. 318; and after a decree, final in its nature, there remains no lis pendens. 1 Vern. 459.

3. It is a general rule, that Iis pendens is a general notice of an equity to all the world. 3 Atk. 343; 2 P. Wms. 282; Amb. 676; 1 Vern. 286. Vide 2 Fonbl. Eq. 152, note; 1 Supp. to Ves. jr. 284; 3 Rawle, R. 14; Pow. Mortg. index, h. t.; 1 John. Ch. R. 566; 2 John. Ch. R. 158; 4 John. Ch. Rep. 83; 2 Rand. Rep. 93; 1 M'Cord, Ch. R. 264; Harp. Eq. R. 224; 1 Bibb, R. 314; 5 Ham. Rep. 462; 4 Cowen, R. 667; 1 Wend. R. 583; 1 Desaus. R. 167, 170; 2 Edw. R. 115; 1 Hogan, R. 69; 6 Har. & John. 21; 2 Dana, R. 480; Jac. R. 202; 1 Russ. & My. 617 Corn. Dig. Chancery, 4 C 3; 2 Bell's Com. 152, 5th ed.; 1 Bail. Eq. R. 479; 7 Dana, R. 110; 7 J. J. Marsh. 529; 1 Clarke, R. 560, 584; 14 Ohio, 109, 323.

4. When a defendant is arrested pending a former suit or action, in which he was held to bail, he will not, in general, be held to bail, if the second suit be for the same cause of action. Grah. Prac. 98; Troub. & Haly's Prac. 44; 4 Yeates' R. 206. But under special circumstances, he may be held to bail twice, and of these circumstances the court will judge. 2 Miles, Rep. 99, 100, 142. See 14 John. R. 347. When such a second action is commenced, the first ought to be discontinued and the costs paid; but, it seems, it is sufficient if they are paid before the replication of nul tiel record to a plea of autre action pendant. in the second suit. Grab. Pr. 98; and see 1 John. Cas. 397; 7 Taunt. 151; 1 Marsh. R. 395; Merl. Rep. Litispendance; 5 Ohio R. 462; 6 Ohio R. 225; 1 Blackf. R. 53; Id. 315; Autre action pendent; Bail; Litigiosity.
-- Bouviers Law Dictionary
Legal Definition
A suit pending; that legal process, in a suit regarding land, which amounts to legal notice to all the world that there is a dispute as to the title. In equity the filing of the bill and serving a subpoena creates a Its pendens, except when statutes require some record. Stim. Law Gloss. See Boyd v. Emmons, 103 Ky. 393, 45 S. W. 364; Tinsley v. Rice, 105 Ga. 285, 31 S. E. 174; Bowen v. Kirkland, 17 Tex. Civ. App. 346, 44 S. W. 189; Hines v. Duncan, 79 Ala. 117, 58 Am. Rep. 580. In the civil law. A suit pending. A suit was not said to be pending before that stage of it called "litis contestatio, (q. v.) Mackeld. Rom. Law, § 219; Calvin,
-- Black's Law Dictionary
Legal Definition
A notice of the pendency of an action concerning land therein described which, filed with the proper officer, puts all persons on inquiry. See SO Nev. 232, 19 Am. St. Rep. 350.
-- Ballentine's Law Dictionary