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Sheriff's Department awarded fees in suit

LAWRENCEVILLE - The Gwinnett County Sheriff's Department on Monday will get back more than $34,000 spent on a lawsuit officials called frivolous.

The Sheriff's Department received a judgment for $33,524 in attorney fees - plus an additional $960 in court costs - spent defending itself against discrimination claims by a female deputy.

"I pride myself on giving everyone equal opportunity," said Sheriff Butch Conway, "and the bottom line is, we don't discriminate."

The complainant, Deputy Georgette Robertson, was demoted, suspended and transferred following an internal affairs complaint against her, said Sheriff's Department spokeswoman Stacey Bourbonnais.

Robertson filed a discrimination lawsuit against Conway and his department, but a court allowed the county to dismiss the case before it went to trial, said Bourbonnais.

Bourbonnais said officials with the county's law department and Sheriff's Department worked to recoup the spent funding.

"I am disappointed (Robertson) chose to file a frivolous lawsuit," said Conway, "but at the same time, I'm elated that the taxpayer money expended to defend this case will be recouped."