Four Months After Naya Rivera's Accidental Death, A Lawsuit Has Been Filed

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It's been several months since the accidental drowning death of Glee star Naya Rivera in California's Lake Piru. And, while her family members, friends and fans are still dealing with their many emotions in the aftermath of the tragedy, a lawsuit has now been filed over her death.

According to TMZ, Naya Rivera's ex-husband, Ryan Dorsey, filed a wrongful death lawsuit earlier this week on behalf of their 5-year-old son Josey Hollis Dorsey, which claims that Ventura County, California (where Lake Piru is located) is responsible for Rivera's death because the boat that she and the child were on that day didn't comply with safety standards. In the documents, which were filed by Dorsey's lawyer on Tuesday, he claims that the boat Rivera rented to take herself and her son out on the lake was in violation of the laws for the state of California, noting that:

[The boat was] not equipped with a safely accessible ladder, adequate rope, an anchor, a radio or any security mechanisms to prevent swimmers from being separated from their boats, nor any flotation or lifesaving devices.

In the suit, Dorsey is claiming that the boat managed to drift away from Rivera and her son after they jumped into the lake to go swimming, and that having the aforementioned safety features could have prevented that from happening, and helped lead to their safe return to the craft once they were done in the water.

Naya Rivera was reported missing on July 8, after she rented the boat intending take her son swimming, but later that same day, the boat was found with her son safe and sleeping inside, while Rivera was nowhere to be found. Several days of searching the lake, as well as the land around it, followed, with Rivera's family and friends visiting the site to help where they could. When authorities were unable to locate her quickly, she was presumed dead, until her body was found in the northeastern portion of the lake on July 13.

After Rivera's body was located, Sheriff Bill Ayub detailed the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department thoughts on what happened, saying that they believed the boat likely began to drift when they were in the water, and that she was able to gather enough strength and energy to get her son onto the vessel, but not save herself afterward.

Ryan Dorsey's suit basically echoes that sentiment, while adding that the boat had been "rocking back and forth forcefully in the current and wind." The lawsuit also alleges that there was no signage to warn people about the potentially dangerous conditions of the lake (something that locals have been complaining about for decades), and that the person who rented Rivera the boat failed to instruct her to wear the life vest that was on board, possibly hastening her accidental drowning.

This is unlikely to be the last that we'll hear of Ryan Dorsey's suit against Ventura County over Naya Rivera's death, so be sure to stick with CinemaBlend for the latest.

Adrienne Jones
Senior Content Creator

Covering The Witcher, Outlander, Virgin River, Sweet Magnolias and a slew of other streaming shows, Adrienne Jones is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend, and started in the fall of 2015. In addition to writing and editing stories on a variety of different topics, she also spends her work days trying to find new ways to write about the many romantic entanglements that fictional characters find themselves in on TV shows. She graduated from Mizzou with a degree in Photojournalism.