CONYERS — Sherri L. Washington, a local attorney and member of the Rockdale County Board of Commissioners, faces garnishment of her county compensation as the result of a judgement against her for legal malpractice.
According to court documents, Washington faces a total garnishment claim of more than $53,000. The garnishment order was finalized in January. As a county commissioner, Washington is paid a base rate of about $26,000 annually.
Washington, a Democrat, is running for re-election to the Post 1 seat on the Board of Commissioners. She was first elected in 2016. Washington faces opposition from two other Democrats — Takela Levett and Renee Simpson. There are no Republicans running for the office.
The garnishment is the result of an October 2017 divorce case in Fulton County in which Washington represented Dashawn Mayweather. In that case, Washington failed to notify Mayweather of a final hearing in the divorce case and failed to appear for the hearing. The result, according to court documents filed on behalf of Mayweather, was that Mayweather was “denied an equitable division of marital assets, denied alimony and required to pay her former husband $5,000 in attorney’s fees.”
Washington said Friday her failure to appear for the divorce hearing and to notify her client of the hearing were due to an oversight.
“I missed an email asking me to go to court, and the judge granted a default judgement,” she said.
Mayweather attempted to have the divorce judgement vacated, but she was unsuccessful. She subsequently sued Washington for legal malpractice in January 2018 and was awarded damages of $48,000, along with court costs of $884.19.
According to court documents, Washington later requested the court stay the judgement against her and rehear the divorce case. Her request was denied.
Washington said her intention all along was “to make my client whole.”
“I never even answered the lawsuit,” she said. “I accepted my responsibility from the beginning. It was about negotiating a settlement.”
The judgement against Washington totals $53,593.50, which includes $4,709.31 in accrued interest.