On April 26, 2011, after a five-year legal battle, seven weeks of testimony and six hours of deliberation, a Salt Lake City jury awarded ASC Utah, the operator of The Canyons ski resort in Park City, Utah $54.4 million in damages.
The case, which was tried for ASC Utah by Jared des Rosiers of Pierce Atwood LLP and John Lund of Snow Christensen & Martineau, sought to recover damages for profits lost as a result of delayed real estate development. In a lawsuit filed in June 2006 against Wolf Mountain Resorts, the former operator of the resort and the owner of much of the land upon which the resort is operated, ASC Utah, formerly a subsidiary of long time Pierce Atwood client American Skiing Company and now owned by Talisker, claimed that Wolf Mountain interfered with development of a golf course at The Canyons by withholding land it had previously pledged. The golf course was key to developing surrounding acreage into lodges, townhouses, hotels and restaurants. Those developments amounted to 950,000 square feet of prime real estate at the core of the resort that went undeveloped during economic boom years preceding the 2008 economic crash and would have brought an estimated $43 million to $54 million to The Canyons in additional profits.
The jury, under the direction of Third District Court Judge Robert Hilder, found that Wolf Mountain breached its 1997 lease agreement with ASC Utah and also its obligations under The Canyons' master plan development agreement. In doing so, the jury awarded the high end of the range of damages sought, delivering one of the largest compensatory damages awards from a jury in the history of Utah.