The 3rd District Court judge presiding over the lawsuit between Park City Mountain and Talisker Land Holdings, LLC ruled on Wednesday afternoon PCMR is able to broaden the case to claim that the resort was denied the right of first refusal on the Talisker land underlying much of the PCMR terrain.
Judge Ryan Harris also ruled that PCMR is able to add a point to the lawsuit claiming that there might have been a violation of the lease agreements between the Talisker side, which is the landowner, and PCMR when Talisker reached an agreement with Vail Resorts to operate Canyons Resort. That agreement could be expanded to include the Talisker land underlying much of PCMR depending on the outcome of the lawsuit.
He said the redone lawsuit will also request an injunction prohibiting further transactions involving the land where PCMR operates. Sullivan said the PCMR side will likely add a party tied to Vail Resorts as a defendant as well as a firm called Flera, LLC, which controls the development rights at Canyons Resort. They will be added within seven days, he said.
The PCMR side has been interested in the details of the agreement between a firm under the Talisker umbrella and Vail Resorts since the deal was announced in late May. Under the deal, Vail Resorts leases and operates Canyons Resort with an initial term of 50 years. The Colorado firm said it put a long-term debt obligation on its balance sheet of approximately $305 million.
Sullivan said during the hearing the PCMR side wants to hold depositions with high-level people involved in the Talisker-Vail Resorts deal, including Talisker CEO Jack Bistricer and the chairman and CEO of Vail Resorts, Rob Katz. He said he wants to learn how long Talisker and Vail Resorts were in negotiations and whether the talks started prior to the date in 2011 when PCMR was required to renew its lease.
They covered topics such as the idea of a right to first refusal and the arrival of Vail Resorts as they debated whether the new points should be added to the lawsuit.
Sullivan spent time talking about triggers of a right-to-first-refusal clause and said the deal with Vail Resorts was "studiously structured." He said there is "equity interest" when a firm controls a property. He said Vail Resorts "for all practical purposes" owns or controls the land underlying PCMR.
Beller, though, contended that PCMR's bid to add points to the lawsuit should be seen as an attempt to submit a "supplemental" case based on events that occurred long after the original lawsuit was filed. He charged that it is profitable for PCMR to remain on the Talisker land as the lawsuit continues.
"It's a completely different claim, theory, everything," Beller said."