This summer, “Glee” actor Naya Rivera tragically drowned during a boating trip with her 4-year-old son. The celebrity rented a pontoon boat on Lake Piru in California, and her surviving family members are blaming Ventura County and the managers of the lake for her accidental death.

According to the lawsuit, filed by Rivera’s ex-husband on behalf of the child they shared and Rivera’s estate, the pontoon boat Rivera rented lacked safety equipment. Although Rivera’s son wore a life vest, the suit claims was no other life preserver or flotation device aboard the boat. The lawsuit also says, “the pontoon boat lacked a safely accessible ladder, radio, rope, anchor or other equipment to keep swimmers from being separated from the boat.”

Even though 26 people have drowned in Lake Piru since 1959, the managers of the area also neglected to install warning signs about the lake’s strong currents, low visibility, and high winds. The wrongful death claim alleges Rivera’s boat likely floated away due to the current and wind gusts while Rivera and her son were swimming on July 8, 2020.

Rivera’s son, equipped with a life vest, was able to make it back to the boat, but Rivera herself could not. She was a strong swimmer, but the lawsuit alleges Rivera’s son heard her cry for help before disappearing under the water. Boaters found the boy drifting alone on the pontoon boat later that afternoon. Authorities discovered Rivera’s body 5 days later.

Rivera’s ex-husband filed the family’s wrongful death lawsuit on Tuesday, November 17.

The South Florida Sun Sentinel and other publications contacted Ventura County for comments, but a county spokesperson declined to comment.

Our Insights

Although this is an out-of-town case, it includes several important reminders for those who enjoy recreational boating in and around West Palm Beach. Always wear a life vest when boating and follow these safety tips to avoid boating accidents.

If you do experience any kind of injury or loss, explore all avenues of liability with Clark, Fountain, La Vista, Prather & Littky-Rubin. Florida is a hotspot for boating accidents and tragedies not dissimilar from this one.

When you get hurt or lose a loved one due to another’s negligence, our attorneys are ready to help you explore your legal options, protect your rights, and put 200+ years of combined experience on your side.

Call us at (561) 922-0258 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation today.