Sommers v. Sandcastle Homes, Inc. (Opinion)Annotate this Case
Tex. Prop. Code 12.0071, the lis pendens expunction statute, does not legally eradicate coextensive information that may be obtained independently of the information contained in the notice of underlying litigation.
Two companies (collectively, Defendants) each bought real property involved in a title dispute. Notices of lis pendens were filed on the pieces of property involved in the suit. The trial court subsequently expunged the notices of lis penden. Claiming bona-fide-purchaser status, Defendants each filed summary judgment motions, claiming that they lawfully relied on the trial court’s expungement order, which voided any notice derived from the lis pendens. The trial court granted summary judgment for Defendants. The court of appeals affirmed, concluding that section 12.0071 extinguished actual and constructive notice of the title dispute. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the unresolved fact issue of whether Defendants had actual, independent knowledge of the issues covered by the lis pendens notice precluded summary judgment; and (2) Defendants have not established bona fide purchaser status simply by relying on the expungement order.