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Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed After Drowning Of Beloved Actress

Drowning Lawsuit Filed On Behalf Of Rivera's Son, Josey Hollis Dorsey

Ryan Dorsey, the ex-husband of now-deceased 'Glee' actress Naya Rivera, has presented a wrongful death drowning lawsuit on behalf of his son.

Four-year-old Josey Hollis Dorsey was enjoying Lake Puru in Ventura County, California with his mother Naya Rivera on July 8th of 2020 when she suddenly went missing. Dorsey was found alone, sleeping, on a pontoon rented by his mother earlier that day.

A search for Rivera, who was 33 at the time of her death, ensued as soon as the lone boy was discovered. Unfortunately, she would not be found until 5 days later. Rivera was reported to have been a good swimmer, and a coroner with the Ventura County found no foul play, ultimately ruling her death an accident.

However, the suit presented in September of 2020 alleges that it was more than unfortunate consequences that resulted in the drowning. Among other oversights, the following specific arguments for negligence were indicated:

  • Rented pontoon lacked lifesaving devices
  • No safely-accessible ladder
  • No radio 
  • No anchor or rope for securing the craft

High winds are also believed to have played a part in separating a swimming Rivera from the boat. However, no posted signs were present to warn against this hazard or that of a strong current with the potential to drag swimmers away from the boat.

Legal proceedings in this matter are still evolving; Ventura County has not yet released any public comments.

Metal Boats Moored On Shore Of Lake
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The Duty Of Boat Rental Business To Patrons

Individuals who have never rented a boat often believe that some sort of qualification is required before such a watercraft can be freely taken on the water. However, the truth is that in many cases, a paying customer can simply rent a boat and head out on the water with as little preparation as a short "crash-course" and a few verbal pointers.

With this in mind, it's not difficult to imagine how such a situation can end in tragedy. So, do businesses who rent boats owe paying patrons a duty to ensure they don't hurt themselves or others while on the water?

There are a lot of instances in which yes, the business does owe the customer a duty to safeguard their health and well-being. If the business is negligent in this duty, a lawsuit seeking compensation for damages could be filed against them.

Once such a legal procedure begins, an extensive investigation into the business' operations is likely to be conducted. This research can provide the basis on which to build a wrongful death or negligence lawsuit after a boat drowning. 

Every case involving the drowning of an individual, whether the victim is young or old, is likely to be quite different from others that came before it. For this reason, it's basically impossible to tell whether one such accident holds legal ground without professional analysis.

For this reason, family members of drowning victims are encouraged to seek legal representation that may analyze their particular circumstances and determine all legal avenues for achieving justice.

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