Talisker, confident, prepares to act upon eviction notice against PCMR
Talisker Land Holdings, LLC, confident it will receive favorable rulings from the judge in a closely watched lawsuit against Park City Mountain Resort, filed a motion in 3rd District Court on Friday in anticipation of eventually acting upon an eviction notice served on the resort last summer.
If Judge Ryan Harris sides with Talisker Land Holdings, LLC in upcoming rulings, the filing says, the PCMR side would be found to be unlawfully occupying the terrain that makes up much of the resort’s acreage. Talisker Land Holdings, LLC could press for an eviction under that scenario.
PCMR, however, remains confident in its case and holds out hope for a negotiated settlement. PCMR on Monday said the filing is a threat of eviction. The resort reacted strongly in August when the eviction notice was served, at the time condemning the notice as an attempt to bully the resort.
The case, brought by PCMR and now involving a countersuit against the resort by the Talisker Land Holdings, LLC side, centers on PCMR’s two leases of the land. PCMR has long said the lawsuit, filed in 2012, is crucial to its survival. The eviction notice, served on Aug. 28, was one of the most dramatic moments of the case. It was a procedural move by Talisker Land Holdings, LLC that was not acted upon at the time. The eviction notice, though, remains intact.
In the filing, Talisker Land Holdings, LLC outlines its desire that the judge order the PCMR side to grant "immediate possession" of the land to the firm. The filing notes three days following an order, but it also indicates the judge could determine the timeline based on the circumstances.
The order would not be issued unless Talisker Land Holdings, LLC prevails. John Lund, the lead attorney for Talisker Land Holdings, LLC, said the firm at that point would ask the judge to set a deadline for PCMR to leave the premises. The deadline would not necessarily be the three days outlined in the filing, he said.
A footnote in the filing indicates the leases require that the buildings, structures and other improvements — much of the infrastructure needed to operate a mountain resort on the land — must remain if PCMR is evicted.
Vail Resorts is overseeing the Talisker Land Holdings, LLC side of the case as part of its long-term deal to operate Canyons Resort. The deal could be expanded to include the disputed terrain depending on the outcome of the case.
John Cumming, the CEO of PCMR parent Powdr Corp., said in a prepared statement on Monday Vail Resorts and PCMR should negotiate a resolution to the case. Vail Resorts, Cumming said, has not offered a serious settlement proposal.
"Instead of making threats concerning eviction, Vail should be talking with us about ways to resolve this dispute since, as we’ve said before, eviction of PCMR from the property will leave Vail with land that cannot possibly be used for any economic purpose. Without the base and parking facilities, which neither Vail nor Talisker owns, Vail cannot operate a ski resort on the property," Cumming said in the prepared statement.
PCMR’s lead attorney, Alan Sullivan, said in an interview the Talisker Land Holdings, LLC motion was "premature" since it was filed prior to the judge ruling on other aspects of the case.
"This is, again, Vail threatening eviction," Sullivan said.
He argued that Vail Resorts could not operate the disputed terrain based on PCMR’s control of the base area, the parking lots and the lower part of the resort’s slopes.
The filing on Friday was made as two April court dates approach. They are expected to address topics like Talisker Land Holding, LLC’s contention that the leases expired and the PCMR side’s claim that the deal with Vail Resorts violated a right-of-first refusal clause in the resort’s leases. It is likely there will be a flurry of filings as the court dates — April 3 and April 8 — near.
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After a ski season cut short by the coronavirus pandemic, action will soon return to Park City’s mountains.