When a court considers a lawsuit involving real property, the court may issue a notice of pendency as a provisional remedy. This notice is filed with the property's deed at the county registry. Once the notice is filed, even if the land is sold or transferred, it may still be used to satisfy judgments against the property owner in the lawsuit. Thus, a notice of pendency makes it effectively impossible to sell the affected property, or get a mortgage on it.
Sometimes, in cases that do not involve real property, courts issue notices of pendency to prevent defendant property owners from restructuring their assets to make themselves judgment-proof.
In some jurisdictions, a notice of pendency is called a "lis pendens."
Rules regarding notices of pendency vary by state. See State Civil Procedure Rules.