Fulton sergeant drops lawsuit against CL 

Fulton County Sheriff's Sgt. Sabrina Callaway has dropped her lawsuit against Creative Loafing and CL news editor Mara Shalhoup.

The lawsuit, filed Sept. 16 in Fulton County Superior Court, alleged an article Shalhoup wrote invaded Callaway's privacy and portrayed her in a false light.

The article, published Nov. 13, followed a power struggle within the sheriff's department between Callaway and fellow Sgt. Neel Berry. Berry and Callaway were up for the same promotion, which Callaway eventually received.

Berry filed a grievance against Callaway claiming she hadn't completed enough training to qualify for the job. Shalhoup reported on those allegations, which were recorded in public documents. She also wrote about a public hearing before the Fulton County Grievance Review Committee on Berry's complaint against Callaway.

Eventually, Callaway was able to present documentation to the committee that showed she had completed the necessary training. Shalhoup reported as much in a follow-up article published May 29.

Five months later, Callaway sued Shalhoup, CL, Berry and Sheriff Barrett.

Callaway's attorney, Denorris A. Heard, said at the time, "As we go through the [legal] process, it will come to light exactly how Sgt. Callaway was placed in false light from the idea that there was something that was communicated that was false to the Creative Loafing."

But Heard's stance softened after CL attorney David Snyder warned him that CL would seek to have Callaway pay all attorneys fees if she didn't drop the lawsuit, which Snyder contended was frivolous.

In early January, "Mr. Heard came to us and proposed that they would abandon the case and dismiss it ... if we would not pursue them for attorneys fees, and we agreed to that," Snyder says.

Heard says attorneys fees "had no bearing regarding the issue. It was information found out in the discovery process that led to this dismissal."

Heard wouldn't specify what information he discovered, citing the pending lawsuit against Barrett and Berry.

CL Editor Ken Edelstein says, "We knew from the start that this was a very silly lawsuit. We're glad Mrs. Callaway's attorney has finally figured that out."


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