‘Glee’ star Naya Rivera’s family settles wrongful death lawsuit

The actor drowned during a boat trip with her four-year-old son in 2020

Naya Rivera’s family has reached a settlement with Ventura County over a wrongful death lawsuit filed after she drowned in a lake in July 2020.

The Glee actor died aged 33 while boating on Lake Piru, California, with her four-year-old son. Her body was found five days later, with her death ruled an accident.

In November 2020, Ryan Dorsey filed a lawsuit for wrongful death and emotional distress against the county on behalf of their son, Josey, which claimed United Water Conservation District and Parks and Recreation Management failed to warn visitors of the danger of boating in the lake.

An attorney for Rivera’s estate and her son has since confirmed the parties involved have reached a settlement, which is subject to approval on March 16.

Naya Rivera
Naya Rivera as Santana Lopez in ‘Glee’. Credit: Alamy

In a statement provided to NME, Amjad M. Khan Brown of Neri Smith & Khan, said: “In Josey Hollis Dorsey and the Estate of Naya Rivera’s litigation relating to the drowning death of Naya Rivera on July 8, 2020, all parties have entered into a global settlement, which is subject to approval by the Ventura Superior Court on March 16.

“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.”

In the original lawsuit, the family claimed Rivera’s death was “utterly preventable”, saying the rented boat was not equipped with flotation or life-saving devices, a ladder, rope, anchor or other equipment designed to keep swimmers from being separated from their boats.

According to court documents, Ventura County denied the accusations and claimed Rivera was offered a life jacket which she “declined to wear”.

Rivera was best known for portraying cheerleader Santana Lopez in Glee. She also had roles in US sitcom The Royal Family, The Bernie Mac Show and The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air.

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