The lead attorney for Park City Mountain Resort on Tuesday broached the idea that Talisker Corporation's deal with Vail Resorts for the Colorado firm to operate Canyons Resort might have violated a lease agreement between PCMR and Talikser Corporation.
Alan Sullivan, who represents PCMR in the high-profile lawsuit against Talisker Corporation centered on the resort's lease of much of its ski terrain, mentioned the idea during a conference in Third District Court at Silver Summit in front of Judge Ryan Harris. Sullivan said there could have been a breach of a clause allowing PCMR the right of first refusal. He did not discuss the topic in detail, however.
The Talisker Corporation-Vail Resorts deal, announced in May, includes the possibility of Vail Resorts operating PCMR, depending on the outcome of the lawsuit. Vail Resorts assumed the lead role in the case for the Talisker Corporation side as a part of the deal.
Sullivan's mention of the possibility of a violation was one of the first major statements from the PCMR side with the prospects of drawing Vail Resorts further into the case in some fashion.
Sullivan had earlier said in an interview he would be interested in learning more about the negotiations that led to the Talisker Corporation-Vail Resorts agreement, particularly the discussions centered on the future of the PCMR land.
Sullivan said during the conference he is attempting to obtain information about the agreement. He said he wants to learn what Talisker Corporation chief Jack Bistricer told the Vail Resorts side during the negotiations.
"To us, this is a $100 million case . . . It is a very, very important case," Sullivan said, referring to the price tag attached to improvements PCMR made at the resort.
John Lund, one of the attorneys for the Talisker Corporation side, though, countered that statements Bistricer may have made to Vail Resorts should not be part of the case. PCMR filed the lawsuit in March of 2012 while the agreement with Vail Resorts was announced in May of this year. Lund also said PCMR is attempting to expand the scope of the case by involving the Talisker Corporation-Vail Resorts agreement.
The Tuesday conference lasted approximately 40 minutes and involved a broad discussion about scheduling. The judge set a Jan. 17, 2014 deadline for fact discovery, the portion of a case when the sides obtain information from each other in anticipation of a trial. Later next winter, Harris said, there will be decision about splitting the case into separate parts, known as a bifurcation. The judge did not set a trial date.
Sullivan said the sides met on July 25 to discuss the discovery phase. Three days of depositions are scheduled in September, the judge was told.
The lawsuit centers on PCMR's lease of approximately 3,700 acres of Talisker Corporation land and whether the two leases were renewed properly in 2011. Harris in November dismissed key parts of the case but allowed others to continue.