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Mississippi Power Co. v. Mississippi Public Service Commission

Supreme Court of Mississippi

April 10, 2014

MISSISSIPPI POWER COMPANY
v.
MISSISSIPPI PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION AND BIGGER PIE FORUM, LLC

As Corrected April 11, 2014.

COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: HINDS COUNTY CHANCERY COURT. DATE OF JUDGMENT: 04/02/2013. TRIAL JUDGE: HON. J. DEWAYNE THOMAS.

FOR APPELLANT: BEN HARRY STONE, RICKY J. COX, LEO ERNEST MANUEL, MICHAEL BRANT PETTIS, TIMOTHY ALAN FORD.

FOR APPELLEES: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, BY: WILLIAM JEFFREY JERNIGAN, HAROLD EDWARD PIZZETTA, III, ROBERT P. WISE, DORSEY R. CARSON, JR.

BEFORE RANDOLPH, P.J., PIERCE AND KING, JJ. WALLER, C.J., DICKINSON, P.J., LAMAR, KITCHENS, CHANDLER, PIERCE, KING AND COLEMAN, JJ., CONCUR.

OPINION

Page 888

NATURE OF THE CASE: CIVIL - STATE BOARDS AND AGENCIES

RANDOLPH, PRESIDING JUSTICE:

¶1. Mississippi Power Company (" Mississippi Power" ) filed documents asserting confidentiality with the Mississippi Public Service Commission (" Commission" ) related to a certificate-of-public-convenience-and-necessity proceeding in January 2009. In July 2012, Bigger Pie Forum (BPF) requested three of those documents from the Commission, and Mississippi Power sought a protective order. Following a hearing, Hinds County Chancellor Dewayne Thomas ordered that the documents be produced. Mississippi Power appealed.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

¶2. On January 16, 2009, Mississippi Power filed a " Petition for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity[,]" requesting authority to construct an electric generation facility in Kemper County, Mississippi (" Kemper Project" ).[1] Associated with that filing, Mississippi Power filed documents with the Commission, at least some of which were marked " confidential." Ultimately, the Commission approved the Final Certificate Order on June 3, 2010.

¶3. On July 3, 2012, Bigger Pie Forum (" Bigger Pie" )[2] requested several documents from the Commission marked confidential by Mississippi Power during the certificate proceeding in January 2009. On August 6, 2012, the Hinds County Chancery Court granted Mississippi Power a temporary protective order which prevented the Commission from releasing the " confidential" documents pending a hearing

Page 889

on the matter. Following a hearing on September 18, 2012, Hinds County Chancellor Dewayne Thomas denied Mississippi Power's " Petition for Protective Order" and ordered that the documents be produced within ten days of his April 2013 ruling. Subsequently, Mississippi Power filed a " Notice of Appeal" and an accompanying motion to stay the order pending resolution ...


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