Missoula County must pay $565K in damages for jail inmate's 2009 death

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MISSOULA, Montana — Missoula County must pay $565,500 in damages to the family of a woman who died of a seizure in the county jail in 2009.

The Missoulian reported (http://bit.ly/1p4nqUT ) Wednesday a district court jury ruled county officials were mostly responsible for the death of 31-year-old Heather Holly Wasson, who died of an alcohol withdrawal seizure about 36 hours after she was jailed.

Wasson was on probation for drug possession and forgery convictions when her probation officer told authorities he believed she had been drinking in violation of her release conditions. She was put in solitary confinement.

Cliff Edwards, an attorney for Wasson's estate, says Wasson had been drinking, was uncooperative and threatened to kill herself. She also answered questions about her substance use and potential for withdrawal problems.

Missoula County's risk manager says the county won't appeal.

Information from: Missoulian, http://www.missoulian.com

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