On March 9th Park City Mountain Resort filed a lawsuit against Canadian-based Talisker Land Holdings, LLC. The suit concerned a dispute pertaining to a portion of the resort that resides on land owned by Talisker. The property in question spans a number of the mountain resort’s slopes and has been utilized by the resort since 1971. The land is an integral part of Park City’s daily operations.
Since news broke of Park City’s suit earlier in the day, Talisker has released a statement in response to the complaint filed.
The statement reads:
“We have not reviewed PCMR’s complaint in detail as of yet. PCMR’s lease of Talisker’s land expired in 2011. Talisker has offered PCMR new lease terms, and the parties have been in discussions regarding such new lease terms, which are subject to an agreement of confidentiality.
We had hoped to reach terms on the new lease that would be fair to both parties. Unfortunately it appears that PCMR is attempting to use litigation to better its position, and avoid reaching a mutually fair outcome.
At no time in these negotiations has Talisker contemplated or threatened to close Park City Mountain. We believed the negotiations were continuing and we are disappointed by PCMR’s action today. Talisker will have no further comment at this time.”
This response seeks to contrast Park City Mountain Resort’s allegations that this segment of the resort faces the threat of closure unless a new agreement is met.
Park City claims to have provided Talisker in April 2011 with written intentions to continue operation of the resort until 2051. They believe they have demonstrated this commitment through continuing to pay their annual usage fees, as well as undergoing 7 million in new investments. Essentially, it is Park City’s position that upon acceptance of this 2011 payment and the fact that were allowed to undergo capital improvements uninterrupted, Talisker has accepted the terms of this continued arrangement.
While it is positive development for the resort to learn that Talisker has no intentions to threaten eviction, the company does remain firm that the land use arrangement is in the process of renegotiation.
It is now in the hands of the courts whether they will grant Park City’s requests. The first question is going to be whether the court agrees that the parties’ agreement has in fact been extended to 2031. This will weigh heavily on the method in which Park City Mountain Resort submitted the written request to continue operations, the circumstances surrounding the annual summer payment in 2011, as well as the nature and seriousness of conversations detailing future plans and collaborations between Talisker’s Canyons Resort and Park City Mountain Resort.
The next issue will be whether the courts deems it necessary to grant an injunction (either temporary or permanent) to guard against Talisker shutting down any of Park City Mountain Resort’s operations. While the livelihood of 1,200 employees and the local economic impact is a valid concern, if Talisker is true to its above statement, this may not be necessary.
Finally, the closing issue will be the courts decision of Park City’s request for 7 million in compensation plus interest as well as punitive damages. This could definitely be the beginning of the end for this property arrangement, and hopefully this lawsuit will not get to such a point — as most know, a wide majority of legal disputes never see a court room.
Jenni Smith, president and general manager of Park City Mountain Resort stated that the resort would continue normal operations throughout the rest of the current ski season and upcoming summer. Park City Mountain Resort has vowed to “fight as long as it takes to keep Park City Mountain Resort locally owned and locally operated.”
We will continue to update the situation as more information becomes available. Hopefully, both Park City Mountain Resort and Talisker can reach a mutually beneficial decision and we can all look forward to another great season of skiing and snowboarding Park City.