The suit, filed on behalf of Rivera’s young son, argued that California officials failed to properly warn of the dangerous conditions at the lake where she drowned.
A wrongful death lawsuit in the case of the July 2020 death of Glee star Naya Rivera has finally been settled. Rivera tragically drowned at the age of 33 while boating in Southern California’s Lake Piru with her son. Her ex-husband, Ryan Dorsey, filed the suit on behalf of their son, Josey, against Ventura County, as well as the county's Parks and Recreation Management and the United Water Conservation District. The suit claimed that the lake, which has a deadly history, did not have the proper safety warnings, and that the boat that Rivera rented did not have the essential safety equipment necessary to meet U.S. Coast Guard safety standards.
Josey, who was 4 years old at the time, was found on the pontoon boat after it was not returned on time and the rental boat company employees went searching for the vessel. Rivera was first reported missing, and declared dead five days later. The tragedy’s compounding effects on Josey are at the center of the lawsuit, as well as the suit alleging that Rivera’s death was preventable. Court documents cite that there was not “a single sign anywhere — not at the entrance, at the dock, at the popular swimming area of Diablo Cove, not anywhere — warning of the lake's strong currents, low visibility, high winds, changing water depths, underwater caves, ledges and drop offs, or the trees, brush and other debris that congest its waters due to the vastly changing water levels and winds.”
Amjad M. Khan Brown of Neri Smith & Khan, an attorney for Rivera’s estate, told The Hollywood Reporter, “Through this settlement, Josey will receive just compensation for having to endure the drowning of his beloved mother at Lake Piru. Though the tragic loss of Josey’s mother can never truly be overcome, we are very pleased that the monetary settlement will significantly assist Josey with his life beyond this tragedy.” The settlement is set for an approval hearing on March 16.