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Ventura County, Rivera Family Settle Wrongful Death Lawsuit After Accidental Drowning

— March 16, 2022

Ventura County and Naya Rivera’s family recently agreed to settle a wrongful death lawsuit over her 2020 accidental drowning.

Actor Naya Rivera’s family recently agreed to settle a wrongful death lawsuit that was filed shortly after her accidental drowning in a Southern California lake. Rivera was 33-years-old at the time of the fatal incident, and was best known for her role in the TV show, ‘Glee.’ She tragically lost her life while she was “boating with her then 4-year-old son on Lake Piru in July 2020. “

Statue of Lady Justice; image by William Cho, via
Statue of Lady Justice; image by William Cho, via

Her husband, Ryan Dorsey, filed the wrongful death suit against Ventura County in November 2020. It was filed on behalf of their son, “Rivera’s estate, and her business manager.” It accused the county, along with its “parks and recreation management agency and the United Water Conservation District of neglecting to sufficiently warn visitors of the lake’s dangers and provide appropriate safety equipment, as well as inflicting emotional distress on the child, who witnessed his mother’s death.”

Amjad M. Khan is one of the attorneys who represented the family. Earlier this month, he noted that “all parties have entered into a global settlement, pending court approval March 16.” He added:

“Through this settlement, Josey will receive just compensation for having to endure the drowning of his beloved mother at Lake Piru…Though the tragic loss of Josey’s mother can never truly be overcome, we are very pleased that the monetary settlement will significantly assist Josey with his life beyond this tragedy.”

What happened back in July 2020 on the lake? What caused the drowning? Well, according to the lawsuit, the child was “found asleep alone on the boat, which was found in the lake after it was not returned to the rental company.” Soon after, Rivera was reported missing and her body was recovered from the lake days later by authorities. The Ventura County Medical Examiner’s Office conducted an autopsy and ruled Rivera’s death an accidental drowning.

Members of Rivera’s family have spoken up recently about the tragic incident, especially in wake of the recent legal agreement. For example, her younger sister, Nickayla recently touched on how difficult it’s been to pull herself “out of a dark place after the tragedy.” She added:

“When that happened, I was in complete shock. My whole family was in complete shock…it all felt as though someone pulled the rug from under us and we didn’t see it coming…The dark place that I was in before only progressed when that happened…At that time, I had no thoughts of my future. I had no thoughts of myself, really. I was only just experiencing pain.”

Nickayla Rivera added that she’s focused on trying to find the good in the world as a way to get through the pain of losing her sister. 


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