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Wrongful Death Suit Filed Over “Glee” Actress’s Boating Accident

December 09, 2020
Injury in the News

Lawsuit Alleges Defendants’ Negligent Conduct Was Substantial Factor in Naya Rivera’s Death

On July 8, 2020, the world was stunned as multiple news agencies reported the disappearance of beloved Glee actress Naya Rivera. The 33-year-old mother had rented a pontoon boat on Lake Piru, located northwest of Los Angeles in Ventura County. Reports emerged that Rivera’s four-year-old son, Josey Hollis Dorsey, was found alone on the boat. Tragically, Ms. Rivera’s body was recovered five days later.

Nobody expects a boating excursion to turn deadly; unfortunately, these types of accidents occur all across the United States, and especially in South Florida. The trial lawyers at Mase Mebane in Miami represent victims injured or killed in Miami boating accidents. For over 30 years, we have been helping injury victims get financial justice. Contact Mase Mebane today at (844) 627-3529 for a free consultation.

Suit Claims Multiple Parties Are Responsible

As reported by WSVN 7 News Miami, a wrongful death lawsuit has been filed on behalf of Ms. Rivera’s estate and her son, Josey, against Ventura County and managers of Lake Piru. Lawyers assert that her death was a “preventable drowning” and occurred due to negligence on the part of the defendants.

 The following defendants are named in the wrongful death suit:

  • Ventura County
  • Parks and Recreation Management d/b/a Parks Management Company
  • United Water Conservation District

The court filing details how Rivera’s son heard his mother cry for help while in the water before disappearing. Attorneys are pressing claims for negligent infliction of emotional distress and have requested a jury trial to determine damages.

Inadequate Safety Equipment and No Signs

The lawsuit indicates that the pontoon boat lacked adequate safety equipment, stating 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.” An investigation also showed that there were no flotation or lifesaving devices found on the vessel in direct violation of California law.

Furthermore, the lawsuit indicates a complete lack of warning signs that could have allegedly prevented Rivera’s death. At least 26 other people have perished on Lake Piru since its opening in 1959.

Dangerous Lake Conditions

Several other signs warned of dangers from snakebites and eating fish from the lake, but none cautioned swimmers about the lake’s known hazards. Swimming has been banned at the lake following the actress’s death. 

The lake is known for dangerous conditions, including:

  • Strong currents
  • Low visibility
  • High winds
  • Changing water depths
  • Underwater caves and debris

Contact Mase Mebane for More Information

The death of this young star has brought to light the dangers that exist on lakes and other waters. An innocent boating excursion turned fatal, despite Ms. Rivera being in good physical fitness and a strong swimmer.

If you or a family member were involved in a boating accident, contact the experienced lawyers at Mase Mebane. Our trial attorneys have recovered millions on behalf of injury victims and will work hard to get you the maximum compensation available in your case. Call (844) 627-3529 to discuss your case today.

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