Attorneys for Talisker Land Holdings, LLC on Monday submitted what is essentially a formal eviction order against Park City Mountain Resort for Judge Ryan Harris to sign if he rules in the firm's favor in critical upcoming decisions.
The three-page document is called an order of restitution. It is another in a series of dramatic moments in the 3rd District Court lawsuit centered on PCMR's leases of land underlying most of the resort's terrain.
Talisker Land Holdings, LLC claims the leases expired in 2011 when PCMR failed to renew them. PCMR argues it was denied a right of first refusal on the acreage, among other points. The PCMR side brought the lawsuit in 2012, and the case now involves a countersuit.
The order of restitution would allow PCMR up to 60 days after the judge's signature to vacate the premises -- approximately 3,700 acres. The resort must take machinery, personal property and equipment when it vacates the land, according to the order. It indicates PCMR would be required to leave behind items that are affixed to the soil. The Talisker Land Holdings, LLC side argues that the lifts and other equipment needed to operate a ski resort are affixed to the soil and must remain when PCMR leaves. PCMR recently indicated in a court filing it plans to dismantle and remove most of the lifts if it is evicted.
"If you fail to comply with this Order of Restitution, the sheriff or constable may, at the direction of (Talisker Land Holdings, LLC), enter the premises by force using the least destructive means possible to remove you, your personal property and any persons claiming a right to occupancy from you," the order of restitution says.
PCMR's lead attorney, Alan Sullivan, on Tuesday issued a prepared statement accusing Vail Resorts of attempting to "manufacture a crisis." Vail Resorts is overseeing the lawsuit as a part of a long-term agreement to operate the Talisker corporate family's Canyons Resort.
"It wants to threaten PCMR and alarm the community so that a Vail takeover of the resort will seem inevitable and acceptable. But there is no crisis. Vail cannot evict PCMR until the legal process, including all appeals, is concluded in its favor. We believe that the litigation will take years to work its way through the courts, and PCMR plans to operate without interruption in the meantime," Sullivan said.
The Monday filing followed a month after Talisker Land Holdings, LLC submitted a motion in anticipation of acting upon an eviction notice that was served in late August. The March filing noted Talisker Land Holdings, LLC's contention that the lifts and other equipment must remain if PCMR is evicted.
The window of up to 60 days outlined in the order of restitution is greatly expanded from the five days that were outlined in the August eviction notice. The Monday filing indicates the up to 60 days "reflect the parties' bargained for agreement as to what time limit would be reasonable."
Harris is considering motions from both sides after two important hearings in recent weeks. One dealt with a claim by the PCMR side that is was denied a right of first refusal when Talisker Land Holdings, LLC reached the agreement with Vail Resorts to operate Canyons Resort. The agreement can be extended to the disputed PCMR terrain depending on the outcome of the case. The other one focused on a PCMR request that Harris reconsider his earlier ruling that the resort was required to strictly comply with the terms of the leases.
The other side at the hearing argued a point that it was not Talisker Land Holdings, LLC's fault that PCMR did not renew the leases on time and it did not waive the lease requirements. The judge did not provide a precise timeline for rulings, but he indicated they could be issued starting in late May.
PCMR has said Talisker Land Holding's moves toward an eviction are premature since important points in the case have not been decided.
In another filing on Monday related to the order of restitution, Talisker Land Holdings, LLC outlines its case that PCMR be removed from the acreage if the judge sides with the firm.
The PCMR side "makes clear that they will go to great lengths to keep prolonging this litigation as long as possible solely to delay the consequences of their own poor business decisions," the filing says, pointing to PCMR not renewing the leases and then "compounding that mistake by choosing to abandon negotiations with Talisker and instead tie the land up in litigation."
Talisker Land Holdings, LLC, meanwhile, cites past cases outside of Utah in its argument that the lifts must remain if PCMR is evicted. The cases include ones involving mountain resorts in Vermont, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania.