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Naya Rivera’s ex-husband files lawsuit over drowning

Written by on 19 November 2020

The former husband of Glee actress Naya Rivera is suing a local authority in Southern California, alleging it did not adequately warn users of the risks at the lake she drowned in.

Rivera, who is best known for her role in Glee, died in July, when she disappeared under the water during a boat trip on Lake Piru with her five-year-old son, Josey.

Her son was found alone and unhurt on the boat.

Ryan Dorsey, Rivera’s ex-husband, has now filed a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of their son against Ventura County in California.

Dorsey claims that the boat used by Rivera 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”.

He adds that the boat did not have any flotation devices, saying that is “in direct violation of California law”.

According to the lawsuit, Dorsey also alleges there were no warning signs at Lake Piru, alerting users to strong currents, changing water depths and low visibility.

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The actor adds that at least 26 other people have drowned in the lake, and gives details describing Rivera’s final moment, saying how wind speed the afternoon she went missing were 21mph.

It states: “Josey knew Naya was still in the water, and heard her cry, ‘Help! Help!’ in her struggle to get back to the boat and avoid drowning.

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“Josey searched in vain for rope to help his mother get back on the boat. Josey then looked back at the water for his mother, and saw that Naya had disappeared. Josey yelled for help and cried alone in the boat until he was found more than an hour later by a PMC boat leasing agent.”

Two other agencies – United Water Conservation District and Parks and Recreation Management – are also named in the lawsuit, and have yet to respond.

Dorsey and Rivera divorced in 2018, after four years of marriage.