BOSTON - Harold Baxter and James D. McCall surely would have preferred to spend the Friday afternoon before Memorial Day weekend just about anywhere else. Baxter, CEO of Pilgrim Baxter & Associates of Wayne, Pa., and McCall, up until that day one of Pilgrim Baxter's star portfolio managers, spent roughly 90 minutes sitting within four feet of one another in a worn courtroom here on May 28 as they waited for their lawyers to emerge from closed-door meetings with a Massachusetts Superior Court judge. Judge Patrick J. King, who was scheduled to hear arguments on whether McCall should be released from an employment agreement he signed with Pilgrim Baxter, appeared to be engaged in an effort to broker a settlement in lawsuits between McCall and the firm.

King's apparent efforts, however, did not succeed, at least for now. Lawyers for McCall and Pilgrim Baxter said after the meetings that they expected to again appear in court, perhaps later this month, to resolve the fight in which McCall sued Pilgrim Baxter May 14 in an effort to quit his job running four of Pilgrim Baxter's PBHG Funds and join Merrill Lynch of New York as a portfolio manager. Pilgrim Baxter and its parent company, United Asset Management of Boston, counter-sued the same day to enforce the employment agreement and its non-compete clause between McCall and Pilgrim Baxter.

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