Ryan Dorsey, the 37-year-old ex-husband of late actress Naya Rivera, has filed a wrongful death and negligent infliction of emotional distress lawsuit against Ventura County, California, where she had drowned in July. The lawsuit has been filed on behalf of the couple’s 5-year-old son, Josey, who had been with his mother during the accident. The lawsuit also named the United Water Conservation District, and Ventura’s Parks and Creation Management as defendants.
The suit states that if proper measures had been available during the accident, Rivera would still be alive. The plaintiffs, Dorsey and his estate are alleging that the boat the actress had rented didn’t have safety measures that are in line with the standards recommended by the US Coast Guard. According to the complaint, the boat had no safely accessible ladder, adequately long rope, anchor, security measures to ensure that swimmers stay close to their boats, and floatation equipment. The latter was discovered upon investigation after the accident, US Magazine reports.
According to the county’s coroner’s office, Rivera wasn’t wearing a life jacket when her body was discovered but Josey was wearing one when he was found on July 8, the day of the accident. The lawsuit also states that there is no sign anywhere close to Lake Piru, where the actress and her boy had been swimming to warn swimmers about its volatile currents and, changing depths, dangerous underwater caves, or the items such as trees that block the waters of the lake.
The complaint also cites the 26 people that have drowned in Lake Piru since it was opened in 1959. According to the reports, both children and fit adults make up this figure with some wearing life vests and others found without vests. The lawsuit describes Rivera, 33, before her death as a swimmer with “strong swimming skills”.
The search for Rivera started on July 8 after her son was found alone on their rented boat. Her body was discovered five days later. According to Josey, his mother went under the surface of the water after calling for help. His statement had been taken and subsequently released by the Ventura Country Sheriff’s Department following the widely publicized news of River’s disappearance and death.
Since she died, Dorsey has been living with Nickayla Rivera, the late actress’s 26-year-old sister, and they wish to raise Josey together. In a video he posted on his Instagram, Dorsey explained that Nickayla is the “closest thing to a mother” Josey has after he lost his mother to the tragic accident.