Officials at Ventura County Parks and Recreation Management are refusing to accept any blame for Naya Rivera's death, insisting the actress opted not to wear a lifejacket during her doomed boat trip.
The former Glee star drowned during a pontoon trip with her young son on Lake Piru in California last year, and now authorities who oversee the waterway have asked a judge to toss a wrongful death suit filed against them by members of Rivera's family.
They claim the star was offered a life jacket before her boat trip but decided not to wear one.
According to legal documents, obtained by The Blast, Ventura County officials filed a motion to strike in the ongoing wrongful death lawsuit, claiming the notion that the boat was unsafe due to the lack of flotation devices is untrue.
"Ms. Rivera was offered a life vest by Parks Management Company’s boat rental agent, which Ms. Rivera declined to wear, after which the rental agent put the vest in the rental boat," a statement reads.
"Regardless of whether they (The Family) allege that the boat was not equipped with flotation devices, a life vest was present in the boat at the time of the incident," it explained.
Naya's ex-husband, Ryan Dorsey, filed the complaint on behalf of their son who was with his mother on the day of the accident. The young boy was found floating in the boat, alone, after the pontoon was not returned within the rental term.
At the time, Dorsey claimed Naya's death was "utterly preventable", insisting the boat she rented 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".
He insisted a later inspection revealed the boat "was not even equipped with any flotation or lifesaving devices, in direct violation of California law".
"Other than the lack of an anchor, no facts are alleged demonstrating how a lack of any of these things caused (Naya's) death," the new document reads.
"The pleading does not allege that Ms. Rivera died while attempting to climb back into the boat, and therefore a lack of a safety ladder did not cause her death. Rather, it is alleged that she had become separated from the boat. The only item missing from the boat which could actually have a casual connection to Ms. Rivera's death was an anchor," it added.