Lis Alibi Pendens Law and Legal Definition

Lis alibi pendens is a Latin term that means an action on the same cause of action is pending elsewhere. When two courts are hearing the same dispute they can reach inconsistent decisions. Res judicata provides that a once a case is determined as final only appeal can rise from the case. No party to the case can commence another case on the same dispute in another court. When a case is pending, no other case on the same issue can be commenced in another court. Lis alibi pendens arises from international comity and it permits a court to refuse to exercise jurisdiction when there is parallel litigation pending in another jurisdiction. However, when a case is filed about materially different issues, documents, and parties, lis alibi pendens can not apply to terminate the proceedings.