Naya Rivera‘s family has privately settled a wrongful death lawsuit, nearly two years after the “Glee” star’s accidental drowning at the age of 33.
Ryan Dorsey, the late actor’s ex-husband, filed the suit against Ventura County on behalf of their 6-year-old son, Josey Hollis Dorsey, in November 2020, four months after Rivera died. The suit alleged that her death at Southern California’s Lake Piru was “utterly preventable” in light of several safety issues that led to her drowning.
“Through this settlement, Josey will receive just compensation for having to endure the drowning of his beloved mother at Lake Piru,” read a statement from Amjad Khan, a lawyer for Rivera’s family, as reported in People on Monday.
“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,” Khan’s statement read.
Details of the settlement were kept confidential, but according to court records obtained by E! News, all parties “entered into a global settlement” last month with a hearing set for March 16, where a judge will hear matters of the settlement before the case is officially finalized.
Rivera went missing in July 2020 after renting a boat with her then 4-year-old son, who was found alone on the pontoon hours after it was due for return. After days of searching, Rivera’s body was pulled from the water. Authorities ruled her death an accidental drowning.
Law enforcement officials believe Rivera hoisted her son out of the water and onto the deck of the rented vessel moments before she died.
The lawsuit, which also listed Rivera’s estate as a plaintiff, was filed against the county, as well as its Parks and Recreation Management and the United Water Conservation District, for wrongful death and negligent infliction of emotional distress.
Rivera’s family argued that the boat she and her son rented was not equipped with the proper features ― including flotation devices, a ladder, a rope or an anchor ― per U.S. Coast Guard safety standards.
The court documents also pointed to the lake’s “deadly history” ― between 1994 and 2000, seven people drowned in the area, according to the Los Angeles Times ― and alleged that there was not “a single sign anywhere” that day warning of “strong currents, low visibility, high winds [or] changing water depths.”
After Rivera’s death, Dorsey, who was married to the actor from 2014 to 2018, moved in with her sister, Nickayla Rivera, to raise Josey together.
On what would have been Rivera’s 35th birthday in January, Dorsey shared a poem on Instagram about how he’s coping with the loss.
“Trying to hold it together, feeling all I feel, eyes getting wet still can’t believe it’s real,” he wrote alongside a photo of Rivera holding their son. “Nobody knows... why. Why you had to leave us behind... I hope it gets easier as time goes by, but forever is forever, and I’ll never know why.”
“I guess you can say I’m doing better,” he added, “but better is just a better word for forever sad, this shit is unbelievable forever.”