PCMR v. Talisker: discovery phase, critical, has essentially ended
Ryan Summerlin January 31, 2014
A critical stretch of the lawsuit between Park City Mountain Resort and Talisker Land Holdings, LLC, the period when the two sides took depositions and obtained documents from their adversary, essentially closed in the middle of January.
The discovery phase of a lawsuit is crucial to a case as the sides build their arguments for motions and, perhaps, an eventual trial. Attorneys for PCMR and Talisker Land Holdings, LLC took the depositions of high-level figures on the other side, including the top-ranking executives of John Cumming on the PCMR side and Jack Bistricer of Talisker Land Holdings, LLC. Rob Katz, the chairman and CEO of Canyons Resort operator Vail Resorts, was also among the figures who sat for a deposition.
The discovery phase closed as another important court date approached. The sides are scheduled to appear in 3rd District Court on Thursday. PCMR will argue that some parts of the Talisker Land Holdings, LLC countersuit should be dismissed. The sides could also broach issues related to the discovery phase.
The lawsuit centers on PCMR’s lease of Talisker Land Holdings, LLC acreage underlying most of the resort’s terrain. Talisker Land Holdings, LLC argues PCMR did not renew the lease before a 2011 deadline while PCMR says it did. PCMR also claims that it was denied a right of first refusal when the landowner reached an agreement with Vail Resorts to operate Canyons Resort. The agreement with Vail Resorts could be expanded to include the terrain at PCMR depending on the outcome of the case.
The countersuit by Talisker Land Holdings, LLC asserts claims like unlawful detainer and unjust enrichment based on PCMR’s continued presence on the land.
The discovery phase, which began last summer, involved both PCMR’s lawsuit and the other side’s countersuit.
Alan Sullivan, the lead attorney for the PCMR side, declined to discuss details about the discovery phase, saying that it "related to the big issues in the case."
He said the PCMR side delved into topics like the right of first refusal and the ownership and use of the Talisker Land Holdings, LLC property at PCMR. He said he learned lots about a firm called Flera, LLC and the circumstances under which it provided financing to Talisker Land Holdings, LLC. Flera, LLC controls the development rights at Canyons Resort. Sullivan said the PCMR side also asked deposition questions about the dynamics between the terrain leased from Talisker Land Holdings, LLC and the lower terrain and base, which are owned by the PCMR side.
"They’re all important," Sullivan said about the depositions that occurred during the discovery phase.
John Lund, the attorney leading the Talisker Land Holdings, LLC side, said in an interview there is the possibility of reopening the discovery phase to question experts about monetary damages and other issues. Lund said the discovery phase "went pretty smoothly, in terms of procedurally."
Lund said the most important depositions were those of Jennifer Botter, who was the chief financial officer of PCMR parent Powdr Corp. at the time the resort attempted to renew the lease, PCMR President and General Manager Jenni Smith and John Cumming, who is the Powdr Corp. CEO.