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Fillingame v. State

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

June 30, 2015

DANIEL S. FILLINGAME, APPELLANT
v.
THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, MISSISSIPPI INSURANCE DEPARTMENT, DIVISION OF MISSISSIPPI STATE FIRE ACADEMY, APPELLEE

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 09/30/2013.

          COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: HINDS COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT. TRIAL JUDGE: HON. JEFF WEILL SR. TRIAL COURT DISPOSITION: DENIED APPELLANT'S MOTION FOR CONTEMPT.

         FOR APPELLANT: JANE E. TUCKER.

         FOR APPELLEE: JAMES T. METZ; ALAN M. PURDIE; DION JEFFERY SHANLEY.

         BEFORE IRVING, P.J., ROBERTS AND MAXWELL, JJ.

          OPINION

         MAXWELL, J.

         [¶1] Daniel Fillingame appeals the order denying his motion to cite the State Fire Academy for contempt of court. Fillingame claimed the Academy was in contempt for not following a January 2011 court order that mandated the Academy permit him to re-enroll. But the Academy indisputably let Fillingame re-enroll in April 2011. So it could not be held in contempt.

         [¶2] Fillingame's real grievance has to do with the certificate the Academy issued him at the end of his training. But the court's order directing the Academy to re-enroll him did not mandate the type of certificate he would receive. Rather, this was a later-made administrative decision by the Academy, for which Fillingame could not seek circuit court review by simply filing for contempt.

         [¶3] Thus, we affirm the order denying Fillingame's motion for contempt.

         Facts and Procedural History

         I. Underlying Lawsuit

         [¶4] Between 2006 and 2008, Fillingame withdrew from the Academy six times due to medical reasons. And between his fifth and sixth withdrawal, he left an additional time after failing a course. While the Academy usually permits a trainee to return after a medical withdrawal and resume his training where he left off (like it did the first five times Fillingame withdrew), given the number of withdrawals, the Academy refused to let Fillingame back in. So in 2009 he sued the Academy, which is a division of the Mississippi Insurance Department, for various torts and breach of contract.

         [¶5] The Hinds County Circuit Court dismissed the tort claims based on sovereign immunity. See Miss. Code Ann. § 11-46-9(1)(c) (Rev. 2012) (reinstating immunity against allegations of tortious behavior by fire personnel that does not rise to the level of reckless disregard of another's safety). But the court granted summary judgment to Fillingame on his breach-of-contract claim. Because the Academy's stated policy was to permit a trainee to return after a medical withdrawal, the court found Fillingame had an implied contractual right to return. In January 2011, the court ordered the Academy to allow Fillingame to re-enroll. The Academy did not appeal this order but instead permitted Fillingame to return in April 2011.

         [¶6] Upon the completion of his training, the Academy issued him a certificate. This certificate stated he had completed the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1001 Standard, Levels I and II (2002 Edition). It ...


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