A woman whose late son died in Los Angeles County jail in 2019 is asking a judge to allow her to file a negligence claim beyond the time normally allowed, saying she mistakenly missed the deadline while healing after her son’s death and because she was worried about the coronavirus spread.

Jacqueline Cothran brought the petition Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court. Her late son, Robert Cothran, died Oct. 27, 2019, and she had six months to file a claim against the county.

Cothran brought an application for a late claim last September, saying she was unable to consult with an attorney within six months because of the rapid spread of the coronavirus, especially in Los Angeles, and because she was emotionally distraught and in mourning for her son’s death, according to her petition.

Cothran’s application to file a late claim was rejected in October, but the county was silent about why and also did not state whether the claim itself was rejected, the petition states.

According to Cothran’s proposed claim, Robert Cothran and his mother had asked for a specialist for months leading up to the date of death because he had been having chest pains and breathing problems. The requests were ignored multiple times by the staffs at the jail, who neglected Robert Cothran’s medical needs, the claim alleges.

As a result of the alleged denial of medical care, Robert Cothran’s health deteriorated and his heart was infected by invasive bacteria, causing severe pain, the claim states. He also endured emotional and mental distress for months until he died, according to the claim.

A sheriff’s department representative could not be reached for comment.

A claim is often a forerunner to a lawsuit.

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