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Judge Rules Naya Rivera's Family Can Collect 'Punitive Damages' After They Accuse Lake Officials Of 'Despicable Conduct'

Oct. 7 2021, Published 7:15 p.m. ET

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More than a year after her tragic death, Naya Rivera's family is a step closer to getting justice after she drowned in Lake Piru while taking her son out on a pontoon boat last year.

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A judge has ruled the Rivera family has the ability to collect punitive damages for the Glee star's death in their lawsuit against the Ventura County Parks and Recreation Department after they accused lake officials of “despicable conduct” for not preventing her death. The family believes the department did not provide sufficient boating equipment, and that the lack of signage about the dangers of the lake attributed to her death.

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Source: mega
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Court documents obtained via The Blast stated, “The allegations of specific statutory violations regarding safety equipment and noncompliance with the conditional use permit regarding signage, as well as allegations that defendant knew of the dangers of the lake, and had received complaints from other patrons, that over two dozen individuals had died in the lake, that Parks and Recreation failed to instruct Ms. Rivera to wear her life vest, failed to outfit the boat with a flotation device, and failed to outfit the boat with an anchor which could have prevented Ms.Rivera from being separated from her boat and ultimately drowning.”

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The judge stated specifically that, “The allegations of specific statutory violations regarding safety equipment and noncompliance with the conditional use permit regarding signage, as well as allegations that defendant knew of the dangers of the lake, and had received complaints from other patrons, that over two dozen individuals had died in the lake, that Parks and Recreation failed to instruct Ms. Rivera to wear her life vest, failed to outfit the boat with a flotation device, and failed to outfit the boat with an anchor which could have prevented Ms.Rivera from being separated from her boat and ultimately drowning.”

naya rivera gallery pic
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Naya Rivera's Mom Yolanda Rivera seen on lake Piru on the day her daughters body was found

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The document concluded making the point that the argument within the lawsuit is “sufficient for purposes of pleading to (arguably) reflect “despicable conduct” and that lake officials may have been “willful and conscious disregard of the rights and safety of others.”

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The document further clarifying, “The allegations include that it was the officers and directors of Parks & Recreation Management who received the complaints and “decided to ignore” them.”

Ventura County officials have claimed that they are not responsible for Rivera's death as they have alleged she was offered a life jacket but did not wear it while on the boat.

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naya rivera gallery pic
Source: mega

Legal documents state officials believe, “Ms. Rivera was offered a life vest by Parks Management Company’s boat rental agent, which Ms. Rivera declined to wear, after which the rental agent ‘put the vest in the rental boat’.”

“Regardless of whether the (The Family) alleges that the boat was not equipped with flotation devices, a life vest was present in the boat at the time of the incident," the documents have stated.

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