Legal News Line Dec. 26, 2014, 10:38am

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman received a court-ordered injunction on Wednesday that will stop a landowner from diverting stormwater off his property after he allegedly flooded a nearby cemetery and State Route 281. 

James Stevens must temporarily stop diverting the stormwater from his Cortlandville property until he obtains a permit from the New York Department of Environmental Conservation.

A suit previously filed by Schneiderman's office alleges that in July 2012 Stevens changed the course of stormwater runoff on his 120-acre property while doing some construction work that also included clearing the property and changing the grading. In changing the runoff route toward a wooded area, the water flowed to St. Mary's Cemetery, where it allegedly damaged graves. 

The damage allegedly resulted in a number of families having to disinter and rebury the bodies of loved ones, in addition to covering gravesites with debris and causing soil erosion on the cemetery property. 

The runoff water has also flowed down to State Route 281 where it has flooded the road. 

“New York’s environmental laws are there to protect our health and our communities,” Schneiderman said. “Nobody is above the law, and my office will hold accountable those who create public nuisances and endanger New Yorkers.”

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