By Steve Tawa

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — There was yet another surprise today in the lawsuit between the warring owners of the Philadelphia Inquirer, as an apparent attempt at achieving a settlement failed to bear fruit.

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After 2½ days of arguments and testimony in a City Hall courtroom by one faction of co-owners, it was anticipated that the partner representing the other side, George Norcross, would take the stand.

But when the time came for that to happen, his lawyer popped up and rested his case.  Norcross will not testify or be cross-examined by the other side.

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Common Pleas Court judge Patricia McInerney immediately called for a private “sidebar” conversation with the more than ten lawyers involved in the case.  Then she announced that the two sides were trying to resolve the case — possibly settle what had become a very public dispute.

But after 3½ hours of shuttle diplomacy, during which the judge met privately in her chambers separately and together with lawyers for both sides and sometimes the partners,  the judge came out to say that despite the intensive effort, they were unable to resolve differences.

Last week, the judge refused to remove Bob Hall as publisher but held under advisement whether to reinstate Bill Marimow as editor of the Inquirer.

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