Can a LIs Pendens Be Expunged by a Court While the Case is Still Pending

Asked almost 2 years ago - Seattle, WA

In California, we can move to expunge a lis pendens if the real property claim lacks probable validity. I am hoping there is a similar procedure that allows the Court to clear title to Washington property while the matter is pending.

Owner was sued for specific performance based upon an unsigned agreement. To get around the statute of frauds, the complaint alleges partial performance (paid $5,000.00 towards the $100,000 deposit called for in the agreement). Buyer could not qualify for financing and the unsigned agreement calls for a seller carryback.

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Kevin Terry Steinacker

    Contributor Level 11

    5

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . In appropriate circumstances, a court can cancel a lis pendens before a final determination of the merits of the case. RCW 4.28.320 allows a lis pendens to be filed in an "action affecting title to real property." Under RCW 4.28.328(2), a party can file a motion to cancel the lis pendens if there is not a claim that affects title to real property. In an action that does affect title but in which the claim does not succeed, RCW 4.28.328(3) provides that the party filing the lis pendens can be liable for damages and attorney's fees unless that party can establish "substantial justification for filing the lis pendens." In order to give an opinion as to whether a lis pendens was appropriately filed against your property, I would need to know more details of the facts and claims asserted, but generally a claim for specific performance involves a request that title to the property be conveyed to the claimant.

  2. Scott Kemble Wilson

    Contributor Level 12

    2

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . You will have unmarketable title until you get the case dismissed. If facts aren't disputed you can try a summary judgment motion for dismissal. If you think the buyer is a total flake you could try to get an order compelling the buyer to deposit the remaining $95k "deposit" into the court during the pendancy of the litigation with the arugument being if buyer doesn't have the ability to perform then the suit is a waste of time. Then if buyer doesn't pay up per the order you can get dissmissal.
    Is this just a suit to coerce return of the $5k paid or is that already returned?

  3. Shawn B Alexander

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . I agree with the previous answers and if the case could never affect the title or change the ownership then it may be improper and subject to removal with costs.
    Good Luck

    Only If and until you and I sign an Agreement for Legal Services, I am not your attorney. These answers are... more

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