PCMR v. Talisker: so, how is the mediation going?
So, how is the mediation going between Park City Mountain Resort and the Talisker Land Holdings, LLC-Vail Resorts side as they attempt to reach a settlement in a high-profile lawsuit?
Nobody outside the parties themselves likely has an idea.
The sides are believed to be continuing negotiations as a part of a judge’s order to enter mediation. But state law prohibits them from making public statements about the progress of the mediation.
The lawsuit has been the most publicized case in Park City’s history, and there have been headline-making moments on both sides over the course of the case. The sides, though, have not commented about the successes or failures of the mediation thus far.
Colorado-based Vail Resorts and PCMR recently released prepared statements indicating they would not comment about the mediation. Both of the statements were vague. Vail Resorts is overseeing the case on behalf of Talisker Land Holdings, LLC as part of an agreement to operate the Talisker family-owned Canyons Resort. The deal could be extended to acreage underlying much of the PCMR terrain disputed in the lawsuit.
The prepared statement released by Vail Resorts was attributed to Kristin Williams, a company spokesperson. It mentions that state law prohibits the firm from commenting about the mediation.
"We understand everyone’s concern and interest in the status of the dispute with PCMR and we appreciate all the questions and requests we get from the community and the media," the statement says. "While we would like to keep everyone updated, we have now entered into a court-ordered mediation process, which is strictly confidential under Utah law. Neither party may comment on these (discussions), either now or in the future."
The Williams statement also says Vail Resorts hopes "to quickly reach a resolution to this dispute for the good of all parties and the Park City community."
PCMR, meanwhile, released a statement attributed to its lead attorney, Alan Sullivan. It also notes that mediation is private.
"PCMR supports the Court’s order for mediation by an independent third party, and is committed to reaching a resolution that works for the parties and the community. Since the mediation process is confidential, we are not commenting on its status," Sullivan said in the statement.
Ryan Harris, the 3rd District Court judge presiding over the case, in June ordered the sides into mediation. The order occurred at the same time he indicated he would sign a de facto eviction order against PCMR. He has since signed that order. The mediation is not binding. Harris required the mediation be completed by Aug. 15. Another important hearing in the case is scheduled on Aug. 27. The sides have not offered details such as who was selected as the mediator or how many sessions have been completed.
The case centers on PCMR’s lease of Talisker Land Holdings, LLC acreage that underlies most of the resort’s terrain. PCMR brought the lawsuit in 2012 and it now involves a countersuit. The judge has sided with the landowner on most points in the case, including that the lease expired.
The lawsuit does not involve the PCMR base area, the parking lots and the lower terrain at the resort, further complicating the situation. Those are held by the PCMR side.
Many Parkites, particularly those whose livelihoods are connected to PCMR, are awaiting the results of the mediation. There are concerns PCMR will either not open for the 2014-2015 ski season or operate on a significantly smaller scale if an agreement is not reached and the judge allows Talisker Land Holdings, LLC to proceed with an eviction.
Becca Gerber, a first-term member of the Park City Council who is seen as bringing a younger person’s perspective to the Marsac Building, will seek reelection this year.