Naya Rivera died by drowning in July, leaving behind her 5-year-old son, Josey, who she shares with ex Ryan Dorsey. On Tuesday, Dorsey and Rivera's estate filed paperwork on Josey's behalf suing the United Water Conservation District and the county's Parks and Recreation Management for wrongful death and negligent infliction of emotional distress.
Rivera died after she was out on a rented boat with Josey on Lake Piru in California when she went missing, and her son was found alone on the boat. After a five-day search, River's body was found, and her cause of death was determined to be accidental drowning. The complaint obtained by Us Weekly claims that the Glee star's death was preventable and that the boat she rented did not comply with U.S. Coast Guard safety standards.
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"[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," court documents read. "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."
Over two dozen people have drowned in Lake Piru since 1959, and the suit alleges that the lake did not have "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."
In September, Dorsey shared a now-deleted Instagram video discussing the impact Rivera's death had on Josey.
"I have to tell him, 'She's an angel now and she's with God and she's in heaven,' and he says, 'I wanna go there, how do I get there?'" he said. "I wouldn't wish that upon any of your ears to have to hear that, hear those words come out of the sweetest soul you know."
He also discussed the fact that Rivera's sister, Nickayla Rivera, had moved in with him to help raise Josey at the 5-year-old's request, noting that Nickayla is "now the closet thing that [Josey] has to a mom."
"To have a young woman who is his blood, his Titi, who's willing to put her life on hold and sacrifice things, uproot her situation for the betterment of your child, so when you put your child to bed, you don't have to be alone with your thoughts, and you don't have to be sad every day and night wondering when does it get better," Dorsey said. "At least you have someone there with you to talk to or just sit in silence and be sad with. You don't have to deal with it completely alone."