Canyons asks judge to ax eviction case
Officials at The Canyons argued Tuesday that a lawsuit filed against the resort should be thrown out of 3rd District Court.
Members of the Osguthorpe family sued the resort trying to evict The Canyons from their land, which underlies a part of the ski area.
Property the Osguthorpes own in the Red Pine area of the resort is important to operating The Canyons, said David Scofield, an attorney for the Osguthorpes.
But attorneys for The Canyons asked 3rd District Court Judge Bruce Lubeck to dismiss the lawsuit filed by the Osguthorpes. They argued that a contract between Snyderville Basin resident Stephen Osguthorpe and the resort does not allow Osguthorpe to evict The Canyons from his land.
"There is no authority for what they’re trying to do here," said John Lund, an attorney who represents The Canyons.
Because The Canyons has an easement on the Osguthorpe land and not a lease, "there is no basis for this action," Lund said in court.
"The Osguthorpes have remedies here," Lund said, adding that The Canyons cannot be evicted at this time.
Should the Osguthorpes remove the resort from their land, The Canyons would "certainly have to cut down some of the runs they now have," Scofield explained.
Employees must cross Osguthorpe property to perform maintenance at the resort and the Saddleback Express chairlift reportedly unloads on the Osguthorpe land.
Last year Osguthorpe said his family was defrauded by American Skiing Company, the former parent company of The Canyons that dissolved in 2007. By lying about owning some property at The Canyons, American Skiing Co. put the resort’s future in jeopardy, Osguthorpe claims.
Osguthorpe contends that in 1997 then-American Skiing Co. CEO Leslie Otten misrepresented to him that ASC had purchased the Wolf Mountain Resort from owner Kenny Griswold and that Griswold "was out of the picture."
Land owned by the Osguthorpes is among several thousand acres of land leased to ASC by Griswold, managing partner for Wolf Mountain Resorts.
Osguthorpe’s lawsuit also seeks several million dollars in damages from The Canyons, which the Talisker Corp. development firm acquired from ASC this year.
The agreement with Osguthorpe was violated when The Canyons destroyed crops and installed snow-making equipment where it harms livestock on the mountain, said R. Reed Pruyn Goldstein, an attorney for Osguthorpe.
"There is clear nuisance Every single year promises are made and every single year promises are broken." Pruyn Goldstein said, adding that the Osguthorpes were also impacted by several deaths at The Canyons last season. "[The Canyons] ski operations have been conducted in a manner that isn’t able to avoid human fatality, which in itself is a nuisance."
Last year Osguthorpe ordered officials at The Canyons off his property.
"The Osguthorpes are very serious about their ranching operations," Scofield said, adding that if The Canyons is evicted from the property "many sheep and cattle will rest easy that they will have food to eat and will be able to traverse the premises without harm."
Lubeck is expected to rule this week on whether to dismiss the eviction lawsuit Osguthorpe filed against The Canyons.
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