A Philadelphia judge has ruled that Philadelphia Inquirer Editor Bill Marimow should not have been fired. “Mr. Marimow is immediately reinstated as Editor of the Inquirer,” Judge Patricia A. McInerney writes in an order issued Friday. The action comes amid a larger dispute among the paper’s owners. Marimow was fired Oct. 7.
McInerney “declared that Marimow’s firing on Oct. 7 violated the contract rights of Lewis Katz, one of the owners who had opposed his dismissal,” Thomas Fitzgerald and David Sell report in the Inquirer.
“[W]e are hopeful that the great reporters and staff of a truly great newspaper can again move beyond distraction and focus on the work they love to do on behalf of the people of Philadelphia and beyond,” said Dick Sprague, the attorney for Gerry Lenfest and Lewis Katz, two members of the group that owns the Inquirer.
The group of other owners say in a statment they plan to appeal “on an expedited basis.”
The decision to return Marimow to the Inquirer as a lame duck editor – his contract ends April 30th – will have the effect of risking chaos in the company, restoring an editor who consistently resisted needed changes to the paper and who is in open conflict with the Publisher, Bob Hall, who the court decreed will remain in his position. The ruling ensures that every newsroom decision will require the joint agreement of the Managing Members, subjecting the company to paralysis.
Here’s the ruling: