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Long Beach : Claim Filed in Jail Death

August 27, 1987

A Long Beach man whose 26-year-old wife died in jail of epileptic seizures has filed a $300,000 claim against the city.

In the claim, Chris Henderson alleges that Paula Michelle Henderson died because of "negligence, carelessness and willful misconduct" by Police Department employees.

Claims are filed as the legally mandatory forerunner of a lawsuit. The city will deny the claim, a spokesman said.

Paula Henderson was arrested in a neighbor's Locust Avenue apartment on suspicion of being under the influence of drugs the evening of June 13, police have reported.

The claim says that Henderson was so ill when arrested that officers told witnesses they were taking her to the hospital. At about midnight, she complained of illness and told jailers she had a history of seizures, police have said.

A physician prescribed an anti-seizure medication over the phone and it was administered by a jailer, the claim says. Henderson had a seizure at about 1 a.m. and was taken to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead, police have reported.

The county coroner ruled that Henderson died because of a "seizure disorder." The coroner also reported that she had a "chronic alcoholic" condition.

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