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'Glee' star Naya Rivera's family settles wrongful death lawsuit

·Writer, Yahoo Entertainment
·2 min read
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Naya Rivera's estate settled its wrongful death lawsuit against Ventura County. The Glee star accidentally drowned during a boating excursion with her son, Josey, in July 2020. The actress's family claimed her death was preventable as the boat did not have proper safety equipment.

"Through this settlement, Josey will receive just compensation for having to endure the drowning of his beloved mother at Lake Piru," the Rivera family's lawyer, Amjad M. Khan of Brown Neri Smith & Khan, tells Yahoo Entertainment. "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."

Actress Naya Rivera's family settles wrongful death lawsuit.
Actress Naya Rivera's family settles wrongful death lawsuit. (Photo: Getty Images)

Rivera's ex-husband, Ryan Dorsey, filed a lawsuit in Nov. 2020 on behalf of their son. Josey, now 6, will receive an unknown amount assuming the settlement is approved by Ventura Superior Court on March 16.

The lawsuit shed heartbreaking details about the Glee alum's death.

"While Naya and Josey were swimming, the boat started to be carried away — likely by the current and wind, which gusted up to 21 miles per hour that afternoon. Josey, who was closer, managed to get back on the boat on his own volition and braced himself on the boat, which was rocking back and forth forcefully in the current and wind," the lawsuit claimed. It noted how Rivera was a strong swimmer.

"Josey knew Naya was still in the water, and heard her cry, 'Help! Help!' In her struggle to get back to the boat and avoid drowning," it added. "Josey searched in vain for rope to help his mother get back on the boat. Josey then looked back at the water for his mother and saw that Naya had disappeared. Josey yelled for help and cried alone in the boat until he was found more than an hour later by a PMC boat leasing agent."

The lawsuit called out the lack of signage at Lake Piru, alleging Rivera and "at least 26 other people" drowned since the recreational facilities opened. The boat rented by the actress was purportedly not equipped with any flotation or lifesaving devices. Police said Rivera's last act was likely saving the life of her son, hoisting him back on the boat, over her own.