In documents obtained by ET, Josey is suing Ventura County, California, United Water Conservation District and Ventura County’s Parks and Recreation Management for "wrongful death and negligent infliction of emotional distress." Naya tragically died in July after a boating trip with her son.
The complaint alleges that the Glee star's death was preventable and that the boat that Naya and Josey were in at Lake Piru, where she died, did not comply with Coast Guard safety standards.
“[The boat] was not equipped with a safely accessible ladder, adequate rope, an anchor, a radio or any security mechanisms to prevent swimmers from being separated from their boats,” the court documents claim. “Disturbingly, later inspection revealed that the boat was not even equipped with any flotation or lifesaving devices, in direct violation of California law, which requires that all pontoons longer than 16 feet be equipped with flotation devices.”
The lawsuit also alleges that Lake Piru did not a have the signs warning of the lake's "strong currents, low visibility, high winds, changing water depths, underwater caves, ledges and drop offs, or the trees, brush and other debris that congest its waters due to the vastly changing water levels and winds."
In a statement from Amjad M. Khan, Partner at Brown, Neri, Smith & Khan LLP, Counsel for Plaintiffs Josey Hollis Dorsey and the Estate of Naya Rivera, they noted: "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. Naya’s family and Josey’s father, Naya’s ex-husband Ryan Dorsey, have expressed gratitude for the outpouring of support from Naya’s many fans, and have requested that the public respect their privacy as they continue to grieve Naya’s loss."
A source tells ET that the wrongful death case that Dorsey filed was "in the works for a while."
"Naya’s parents really spearheaded the suit and together with Ryan they figured out the best way to file," the source says. "It's in Josey's name because he was on the boat too."
The source added that during the family's research into this case, they discovered several other lawsuits against the company onsite.
On July 13, Naya was pronounced dead after she went missing in Lake Piru, located in the Los Padres National Forest in Ventura County, California, for several days. The actress and her son had decided to have a day out on the water, but he was later found alone in the boat they had rented without his mom, who was later found dead. Naya was 33.
"Then he asked me if TiTi can live with us. 'I want TiTi to live with us, forever.' Because she's now the closest thing that he has to a mom," he explained. "Because you're going to need all the help you can get as a single parent, trying to build your career and navigate this disaster with your child. You deal with it every hour of every day for 80-plus days now."
A source also told ET that Ryan, Nickayla and Josey have been a “great team” and that rather than going back and forth between each other’s homes, moving into a rental together was the best decision for Josey’s well-being.