PCMR v. Talisker: Vail Resorts CEO deposition scheduled next week
Ryan Summerlin January 7, 2014
The CEO of Vail Resorts is scheduled to answer questions next week in what will be another high-profile deposition in the lawsuit centered on Park City Mountain Resort’s lease of much of the land underlying its terrain.
Rob Katz’s deposition is set to begin at 10 a.m. on Jan. 16 in the Denver offices of the law firm that represents PCMR. Katz was one of the key figures involved in negotiating an agreement earlier in 2013 between his firm and Talisker to operate Canyons Resort. The agreement can be expanded to involve the disputed PCMR terrain depending on the outcome of the lawsuit.
It has been anticipated for months that Katz would be required to sit for a deposition. PCMR in the fall won the right to expand the case and add defendants, including a party under the Vail Resorts umbrella called VR CPC Holdings, Inc. The PCMR side filed the notice of Katz’s deposition in 3rd District Court at Silver Summit in December.
In a September hearing about expanding the case, PCMR’s lead attorney, Alan Sullivan, told Judge Ryan Harris the PCMR side wanted to hold depositions with people who negotiated the deal to operate Canyons Resort. He said during the hearing he wanted to find out how long Talisker and Vail Resorts were in negotiations. He said the PCMR side wanted to learn whether the talks started prior to the date in 2011 when PCMR needed to renew its lease.
During the September hearing, attorneys for the two sides spent time on the agreement between Talisker and Vail Resorts. Sullivan argued that the deal was structured in a studious way and said Vail Resorts "for all practical purposes" owns or controls the land underlying PCMR. The PCMR side claims that the agreement with Vail Resorts violates a right of first refusal clause.
Katz has not made extensive public statements about the lawsuit, addressing the topic only broadly on several occasions.
Depositions are not conducted in public, but transcripts are taken. Portions of deposition transcripts are sometimes made public when they are used to support a motion filed by one of the sides.
There has been a string of depositions with top tier figures on both sides in recent weeks and more are scheduled. People who have either already answered questions from the other side since November or who are scheduled to do so in coming weeks include Talisker Land Holdings, LLC chief Jack Bistricer, and John Cumming, who is the CEO of PCMR parent Powdr Corp.
Depositions are a critical part of the discovery phase of a lawsuit, when the sides delve into documents from the other side in addition to the questioning in the depositions.