§ 1601 Written notice of pendency of action.
(a) In any action instituted in any court of this State having civil jurisdiction or in the United States District Court for the District of Delaware, any party asserting a claim, the object of which is to affect the title to, or enforce an equitable lien on, real estate may, after filing of such claim, file in the office of the recorder of deeds of any county in which all or any part of the affected real estate is situate a written notice of the pendency of the action, which shall be under oath, and shall set forth:
(1) The court in which the action was brought, the caption of the action and the civil action number;
(2) The object of the action or the affirmative relief sought;
(3) A legal description sufficient to identify the property affected; and
(4) A designation of the names of each party against whom the notice is directed to be indexed.
(b) No notice of pendency shall be filed under this chapter:
(1) On a claim relating to real estate which, if sustained, would entitle the party to recovery solely of money or money damages; or
(2) To enforce a mechanic’s lien or to foreclose upon a mortgage at law, which actions shall continue to be governed by the notice procedures of this Code specifically applicable thereto.
§ 1602 Recording; indexing; cancellation.
Upon payment of the proper fee, the recorder of deeds shall record the notice of pendency. Each notice recorded shall be indexed, direct and indirect, against the name of each party designated in the notice of pendency. Such entry shall note next to such name the book and page number where the notice of pendency is recorded.
§ 1603 Filed notice of pendency; effect as to persons claiming interest in real estate identified in notice of pendency.
(a) The recording of a notice of pendency shall be notice to any person acquiring an interest in the real property identified in the notice from or through any party named in the notice from the time of the recording of the notice. Any person claiming an interest in the real property which is the subject of the notice of pendency is bound by all proceedings taken in the action after such recording and until cancellation or discharge to the same extent as if such person were a party.
(b) Unless and until a notice of pendency is filed as provided by this chapter, no action shall, before final judgment is entered therein, be deemed to be constructive notice to a person acquiring or having acquired a lien on or any other interest in the affected real estate.
§ 1604 Effective term.
A notice of pendency shall be effective for a term of 3 years from the date of recording with the recorder of deeds. Before expiration of a term or an extended term, the court, upon motion of the party recording the notice, for good cause shown, may grant an extension for a like additional term. An extension order shall be recorded with the recorder of deeds before expiration of the prior term. An extension order shall be recorded with the recorder of deeds before expiration of the prior term and no extension order may be entered by any court after the expiration of the original term or any extended term.
§ 1605 Mailing of notice of pendency to parties against whom notice is indexed.
Within 5 days after filing the written notice of pendency with the recorder of deeds, the party recording the notice of pendency shall serve or mail a copy of such notice by first-class mail to the last known address of each party against whom the notice of pendency has been indexed, and to all persons shown on the public records to have an interest in or lien upon the real estate which is the subject of the notice. Not later than 10 days after filing the written notice of pendency, an affidavit of the party recording the notice of pendency or of the attorney for such party shall be filed with the clerk of the court in which the action has been filed, indicating compliance with the foregoing requirements, including the parties to whom the notice was sent, the date of mailing and the address or addresses to which the notice or notices were sent.
§ 1606 Mandatory cancellation.
The court, upon motion of any party aggrieved, shall direct any recorder of deeds to cancel a notice of pendency and mark the indices accordingly if:
(1) Mailing of the notice has not been completed within the time required by § 1605 of this title;
(2) The final judgment entered denying the claim covered by the notice of pendency is no longer appealable; or
(3) The claim relating to the real estate is one which, if sustained, would entitle the party solely to recover money or money damages.
§ 1607 Cancellation upon condition of security.
In an action for the enforcement of an equitable lien, the objective of which is to secure the payment of money, the court, upon motion of any party aggrieved, as a condition of cancellation of the notice of pendency, may direct that such party post sufficient security to insure the payment of money as may, by the final determination of the action, be ascertained to be chargeable upon the affected real estate. Nothing herein contained shall preclude the posting of bond or other security by agreement of the parties as a condition of cancellation.
§ 1608 Discretionary cancellation; hearing on probability of success on the merits.
The court, upon motion, supported by affidavit or affidavits, of any party aggrieved, may direct any recorder of deeds to cancel a notice of pendency and mark the indices accordingly if the court determines that there is not a probability that final judgment will be entered in favor of the party recording the notice of pendency. The party recording the notice of pendency shall bear the burden of establishing such probability. The court may order oral argument on the motion. No discovery on such motion shall be permitted unless so ordered by the court. The order of the court on the motion may contain such conditions as the court deems just and proper.
§ 1609 Voluntary cancellation by party recording the notice.
At any time, the recorder of deeds shall cancel the notice of pendency and mark the indices accordingly upon written request, under oath, for such cancellation and upon payment of the proper fee by the party who recorded the notice, or by such party’s attorney of record. The written request shall be recorded.
§ 1610 Effect of canceled or expired notice.
A canceled or expired notice of pendency shall not be deemed to be actual or constructive notice to any person for any purpose.
§ 1611 Costs and attorneys’ fees.
In an order either upholding a notice of pendency or cancelling a notice of pendency, the court may, for good cause shown, and in the interest of justice, direct a party to pay the prevailing party’s damages, if any, together with court costs of the action. In addition, the court, in exceptional cases, may award reasonable attorneys’ fees to the prevailing party. Attorneys’ fees may be assessed against a party only if the court finds that such party has wilfully asserted a claim or defense thereof without foundation in law or fact and/or not supported by a good faith request for an extension of the law, or for an improper purpose such as to harass or cause unnecessary delay in a legal proceeding or transaction.
§ 1612 Fee for recording notice as taxable costs.
The fee for recording any notices required under this chapter shall be taxable as a part of the costs in the action.
§ 1613 Recording and marginal notation of judgment or stipulation of dismissal.
Whenever a stipulation of dismissal is filed, or whenever a final judgment entered is no longer appealable, notice of the pendency of which action has been filed in the office of the recorder of deeds, the party who filed the notice of pendency shall cause a certified copy of the order of final judgment or a copy of the stipulation to be recorded in the office of the recorder of deeds. Upon payment of the proper fee, the recorder of deeds shall record the order or stipulation and mark the indices accordingly. If the party who filed the notice of pendency fails or refuses to file a certified copy of the final order or stipulation of dismissal, any party aggrieved by the filing of the notice may cause the order or stipulation to be filed.
§ 1614 Express repeal of common law.
The common-law doctrine of lis pendens is hereby abolished and no action instituted after June 29, 1989, shall constitute constructive notice to any person unless notice of such action complies with the requirements of this chapter.