The actor is suing on behalf of his and Rivera’s 4-year-old son, Josey, for wrongful death, survival and negligent infliction of emotional distress. The suit names Ventura County, the United Water Conservation District and Parks and Recreation Management as defendants.
When contacted by USA TODAY for comment on Wednesday, a representative for Ventura County said the county had not yet been served the lawsuit. USA TODAY has reached out to the other defendants for comment.
“The lawsuit, investigation of which is ongoing, seeks to hold the defendants accountable for their negligence in causing Naya’s death and in causing Josey, who witnessed Naya’s drowning, to suffer serious emotional distress,” Dorsey’s attorney, Amjad Khan, said in a statement.
According to the complaint, provided to USA TODAY by Khan, the pontoon boat Rivera rented at Ventura County’s Lake Piru on July 8 did not come with key safety features, including a safely accessible ladder, adequate rope, an anchor, a radio and other security mechanisms to keep swimmers from getting separated from their boats.
The suit also claims that the boat was not equipped with flotation or lifesaving devices, though boaters at the time said they found Josey alone on the boat with Rivera’s purse, wallet and life jacket.
Furthermore, the suit says Rivera was never informed of the dangerous conditions at Lake Piru, which the complaint describes as having a “deadly history” of drownings. The suit also alleges that Rivera’s drowning was “utterly preventable.”
“There are no signs warning visitors about the dangers of swimming in the lake, to wear life vests when swimming or boating, or that dozens of others have drowned in Lake Piru,” the document reads.
According to the lawsuit, Rivera and Josey’s boat drifted away from them while they were swimming, likely due to winds that gusted up to 21 mph that afternoon. Though Josey was able to get back onto the boat, Rivera wasn’t as fortunate, the suit says.
Despite the many dangers of swimming at Lake Piru, the lawsuit claims the defendants encouraged visitors to boat, fish, water ski, jet ski and swim at the lake without warning them of the safety hazards.
The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office announced on July 13 that a body found at the lake had been identified as Rivera. On July 14, the Ventura County Medical Examiner’s Office announced via Twitter that Rivera, 33, died from drowning, described as an “accident.”
The document also states that the actress died within minutes and that no other significant conditions contributed to her death, according to the outlets.