Attorneys in Sebring water case asking to blame EPA for absence of notification


The lawyers in the James Bates lead-notification case have filed arguments on whether the former Sebring water department operator can argue his failure to notify the public of lead in the water in 2015 was the result of the actions of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

Bates, 62, of Carey Road, is due to go on trial Sept. 17 in Mahoning County Area Court here on three counts of failing to notify Sebring customers that routine water testing showed there was an excessive amount of lead in the drinking water.

If convicted, he could get up to four years in prison on each count.

Attorneys from the Ohio Attorney General’s Office prosecuting the case filed a motion asking Visiting Judge Patricia Cosgrove of Summit County to prevent Bates’ attorney, Atty. John Juhasz, from arguing a mistake-of-fact defense – that Bates is not guilty of the crimes because he was waiting for the Ohio EPA to provide additional guidance before he sent notifications to Sebring customers.

Read more about the matter in Saturday's Vindicator or on

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