Four months after her tragic boating accident, Naya Rivera’s wrongful death suit has been filed by Ryan Dorsey, her ex-husband and father to their 5-year-old son, Josey. The Ray Donovan actor, 37, claims that Ventura County, California is responsible for the Glee star’s death due to a lack of safety compliance on Lake Piru, where Rivera drowned during a boat trip with her son in July.
According to documents obtained by HollywoodLife, Dorsey is suing the county, the county’s Parks and Recreation Management, and the United Water Conservation District for wrongful death and emotional distress on behalf of his and Rivera’s son. The actor alleges that the boat that his ex and Josey took out on Lake Piru 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.”
These insufficient measures are reportedly in violation of U.S. Coast Guard safety standards, according to court documents. “Disturbingly, later inspection revealed that the boat was not even equipped with any flotation or lifesaving devices, in direct violation of California law, which requires that all pontoons longer than 16 feet be equipped with flotation devices,” the documents read.
The court documents also highlight the lake’s history of drownings (Dorsey cites 26 other deaths by drowning, some of whom wore life jackets and others not) and claim that there were no warning signs posted about “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.”
Naya was reported missing a day after she and Josey took a trip to Lake Piru on Tuesday, July 7. The mother and son reportedly rented a pontoon boat and went swimming in the lake, but after the boat’s three-hour rental had passed and failed to be returned, reservoir staff went to look for Rivera and her son. According to the Ventura County Medical Examiner office’s official autopsy report, Josey was later found alive, still on the boat “wearing a life fest” by another boater, but his mother was nowhere to be found. A search commenced for the “Sorry” singer and later shifted to a recovery mission after she could not be located. She was pronounced dead at 33 years old on July 13 after her body was recovered from the lake.