Ikea will pay $50 million to the parents of three toddlers who died when dressers toppled onto them. The settlement comes after those deaths and others prompted a recall of 29 million Ikea dressers that the company acknowledged could tip over and injure or kill children. Jackie Collas, a West Chester woman whose 2-year-old son, Curren, was crushed by a dresser in 2014, said she was relieved but the settlement doesn't bring closure. "Your life, it will always be cut in half," she said. "Even if I live until 100, it's going to be before Curren and after Curren." Read more
A federal judge criticized the Philadelphia School District's "overly aggressive" defense of late Superintendent Arlene Ackerman's "illegal" actions in a discrimination case. "The Philadelphia School District now must bear the costs of counsel's scorched earth tactics three times over," wrote U.S. District Court Judge Mitchell S. Goldberg in an opinion affirming a jury's decision to award $2.3 million to a Bucks County firm that started work on a contract for security cameras, only to see the contract go to another company at Ackerman's direction. "First in the form of the jury's damages award; second through their own attorneys' surely hefty fees; and now through the payment of the attorney's fees and costs..." Read more
The opioid epidemic took on a new urgency at a Kensington church this month, when two parishioners died of apparent heroin overdoses in four days. "This is in-your-face heartbreak," said Michael Roth, pastor at Cornerstone Community Church. The two were among the 35 people in Philadelphia the Medical Examiner's Office says died of apparent drug overdoses during the first five days of December. Read more
Caitlan Coleman, a 31-year-old from York County, and her Canadian-born husband, Joshua Boyle, 33, set out on a backpacking trip through Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan four years ago. Somehow, they ended up in Afghanistan, where they were captured by a militant Islamist group affiliated with the Taliban. A video released this week shows Coleman pleading to President Obama and President-elect Donald Trump to help free the couple and their two sons born during their captivity. Sen. Bob Casey said the video, though difficult to watch, could be seen as a "positive sign" the family is alive. Read more
A jury has convicted two men of killing a West Philadelphia bodega owner and his wife and sister in 2011. Ibrahim Muhammed and Nalik Scott were found guilty of all charges after a trial that lasted nearly three weeks. They now face the death penalty; sentencing hearings start today. "They took my family," Jessica Nunez had testified, identifying Muhammed and Scott as the gunmen who burst into the Lorena Grocery at 52nd and Parrish Streets, killing her parents, Porfirio and Juana Nunez, and aunt, Lina Sanchez. "In less than two minutes, I didn't have a family." Read more