The late Naya Rivera's son, Josey, has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the California county where his mother died in early July. That wouldn't be so surprising — except for the fact that he's only 5 years old.
However, the little boy, who was with his mom when she drowned during a boating excursion on Ventura County's Lake Piru, isn't the one actually pushing the papers. His dad, Rivera's ex Ryan Dorsey, as well as the actress' estate, are the parties who are executing the suit on his behalf.
The lawsuit points fingers at Ventura County, as well as United Water Conservation District and Ventura County’s Parks and Recreation Management for “wrongful death and negligent infliction of emotional distress.” It also alleges that Rivera’s death was preventable and that the boat she and Josey had rented from Lake Piru did not comply with U.S. Coast Guard safety standards.
According to court documents obtained by Us Weekly, the suit points to Lake Piru as having a "deadly history," with a record of two dozen drownings since 1959. It further noted that the lake did not post any safety warnings regarding strong currents, high winds, visibility issues and other natural impediments to safe boating.
As for the boat itself, it "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,” the court documents say. “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 actress was confirmed dead on July 13, five days after she disappeared during her trip with then 4-year-old Josey to Lake Piru. She was reported missing, with the child found alone and asleep on the pontoon, wrapped in a towel and wearing his life jacket.
He told authorities at the time that he and his mom had gone swimming, and that she’d boosted him onto the deck from behind. He then looked back and saw her disappear under the water.
Dorsey, who was married to the Step Up: High Water star from 2014-2018, called the time after Rivera went missing on July 8 the “longest days” of his life. She was buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Los Angeles on July 24.