An unpublished opinion of the North Carolina Court of Appeals does not constitute controlling legal authority. Citation is disfavored, but may be permitted in accordance with the provisions of Rule 30(e)(3) of the North Carolina Rules of Appellate Procedure.
NORTH CAROLINA COURT OF APPEALS
Filed: 19 December 2006
IN THE MATTER OF:
G.T.B. and Dare County
H.D.B., No. 04-J-78
Appeal by Respondent-mother from orders filed 6 June and 27
June 2005 by Judge James Carlton Cole in Dare County District
Court. Heard in the Court of Appeals 21 September 2006.
Annick Lenoir-Peek for Respondent-Appellant.
Sharp, Michael, Outten & Graham L.L.P., by Steven D. Michael,
Alexandra S. Gruber for Guardian ad Litem-Appellee.
Respondent-Appellant (Respondent) is the mother of G.T.B.
and H.D.B., the juveniles who are the subject of this appeal. In
a petition filed 3 December 2004, the Dare County Department of
Social Services (DSS) alleged that grounds existed to terminate
Respondent's parental rights in that Respondent
neglected the children within the meaning of
North Carolina General Statute Section 7B-
101[,] . . . willfully left the children in
foster care or placement outside the home for
more than twelve (12) months without showing
to the satisfaction of the Court that
reasonable progress under the circumstances
have [sic] been made within twelve (12) months
in correcting the conditions which led to the
removal of the children[,] . . .[and] for a
period of six months next preceding the filingof this petition, [has] willfully failed for
such period to pay a reasonable portion of the
cost of care for the children, although
physically and financially able to do so.
The termination hearing began before the Honorable James Carlton
Cole in Dare County District Court on 28 February 2005. During the
adjudication stage, Respondent's counsel stipulated to the
existence of grounds to terminate Respondent's parental rights.
After this stipulation, Respondent's attorney requested a
continuance before the trial court began hearing evidence for the
disposition stage. Judge Cole thus continued the matter and, on 6
June 2005, proceeded with the disposition stage. That same day,
the trial court's order finding that grounds existed to terminate
Respondent's parental rights was filed. At the 6 June 2005
disposition stage of the termination hearing, the evidence tended
to show the following:
Nancy Huff, a social work supervisor with DSS, who has been
assigned to the case since March 2002, testified regarding the case
history and the various foster placements of the juveniles. She
testified that after being taken into physical custody by DSS on 19
April 2001, the children were placed with a maternal great-aunt in
New York in December 2001. This placement lasted one or two days
and the children were then placed with their paternal grandfather,
who also lived in New York. After approximately eight months, this
placement was no longer viable, and the children were placed with
Respondent's mother, who also lived in New York. The children
stayed there for approximately eight months, when the court ordered
their return to North Carolina. Both boys are currently placed inseparate foster homes in North Carolina. Because of the medical
and counseling services that the boys require, the cost of care for
the children is over $10,000.00 a month.
G.T.B. has been in his current foster placement for
approximately ten months and is doing well. He is affectionate
toward his foster parents, referring to them as mom and dad,
and to their home as his home. He has also made marked academic
progress during the current school year.
H.D.B. first met his current foster family in February 2005
and has been placed in their home since March 2005. His foster
family has worked hard to help him improve his behavior, and he has
been able to begin a pre-school program, something that he
previously was unable to do.
Kelly Roberts, a licensed clinical social worker, who owns and
operates Coastal Counseling and who worked as a therapist for
G.T.B. and H.D.B., testified that she performed her initial
evaluation on the juveniles on 15 December 2003 and, while working
with the children, observed behavioral issues, sexual behavioral
problems, and some developmental delays. She testified further
that both boys are currently doing well, and that their behavior
has improved since they have been placed in separate homes.
Regarding permanent adoption, Ms. Roberts testified that, because
of the history of each child, time is of the essence. She
believes that both children are adoptable but, because of their
special needs, they are more likely to be adopted if their
placement is separate. Kaileb Jackson, a social services worker in western North
Carolina, whose social services office was responsible for
licensing H.D.B.'s foster family, testified that he has been
providing support to the family since H.D.B. has been placed with
them. He testified further that H.D.B.'s current placement has
been more successful than he had hoped and that H.D.B. now has a
peacefulness about him. Moreover, he sees no reason for any major
concerns about his current placement and would recommend adoption
by the family with whom H.D.B. currently lives.
H.D.B.'s foster and potential adoptive mother, Rebecca,
testified that H.D.B. lives with her and her husband on a 75-acre
farm, and is doing really, really, well. She noted that since he
has lived there, he is more at peace and . . . content. . . . He
has a lot more self esteem. In support of Rebecca's testimony,
Ezera Foutz, a previous foster father to H.D.B., testified that
when the child first came to live with him, he was wild, nervous,
very insecure, almost animalistic in certain survival behaviors.
He testified further that he has been surprised by how much H.D.B.
has improved after being placed with Rebecca and her husband. Mr.
Foutz has found that since H.D.B. has been in his current
placement, he has been a very happy, well-adjusted, confident,
actually full of strength child.
Shirley Oliver, Respondent's grandmother (and the great-
grandmother of G.T.B. and H.D.B.), testified that she would like
the children to be placed with her. She is retired and currently
lives with her husband and her sixteen-year-old grandchild in afour-bedroom, two-bathroom house, situated on three acres of land
in New York. Mrs. Oliver has many family members that live within
twenty miles of her house and she testified that if the children
were placed with her, she would foster relationships between the
boys and these family members. She testified further that these
familial relationships would include interactions with Respondent
because she believes that Respondent should have her children back
full-time. Regarding medical and psychological care for the
children, Mrs. Oliver testified that the children would eventually
be eligible to receive all of the necessary state services in New
York, that she and her husband would be able to afford full payment
for the services until the costs were covered by New York State,
and that the couple could afford all necessary co-payments
thereafter. Overall, Mrs. Oliver believed that she was physically
and emotionally capable of handling the children if they were
placed with her.
Respondent testified that she would like to see her children
placed with her grandmother, and that she believes her grandmother
could take care of the juveniles. Respondent, with her eight-
month-old daughter, has recently moved back to New York and is
currently living with a man named Joey, whom she eventually plans
to marry. Respondent testified that although the boys are scared
of Joey, it is only because he is strict and is very firm in his
Donna Buxton, who has worked as the children's guardian ad
litem since the inception of this case, testified that she is infavor of termination because the boys need a permanent or final
placement. She testified further that the boys are currently
placed in very stable homes, and she is optimistic about the
finality of each placement.
Based on this evidence, in an order filed 27 June 2005, the
trial court found that it was in each child's best interest for the
parental rights of Respondent to be terminated. From this order
and from the 6 June 2005 order, Respondent appeals.
Respondent first contends that the trial court committed
prejudicial error in entering its adjudicatory order more than
thirty days after the termination hearing, in violation of N.C.
Gen. Stat. § 7B-1109. We find this argument without merit.
Under North Carolina law, [t]he adjudicatory order shall be
reduced to writing, signed, and entered no later than 30 days
following the completion of the termination of parental rights
hearing. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-1109(e) (2005). Generally, a
termination proceeding involves a two-stage process[:] the
adjudication stage . . ., and a disposition stage[.] In re White,
81 N.C. App. 82, 85, 344 S.E.2d 36, 38 (citing In re Montgomery,
311 N.C. 101, 316 S.E.2d 246 (1984)), disc. review denied, 318 N.C.
283, 347 S.E.2d 470 (1986). Trial courts may conduct both stages
concurrently, or they may hold a bifurcated proceeding in which the
adjudication and disposition stages are conducted separately. Id.
Therefore, it follows that when a termination of parental rights
hearing is bifurcated, and a trial court, during the adjudicationstage, finds that grounds exist to terminate parental rights, the
hearing is not complete until the trial court also concludes the
disposition stage by determining what is in the best interest of
In this case, the trial court completed the adjudication stage
on 28 February 2005 and the disposition stage on 6 June 2005, thus
concluding the termination hearing on 6 June 2005. The
adjudicatory order, finding that grounds existed to terminate
Respondent's parental rights, was entered the same day, clearly
within the time frame established by the statute. Additionally,
during the adjudication stage, Respondent stipulated that grounds
existed to terminate her parental rights. Consequently, she could
not have been surprised when the trial court, in its order, found
that those same grounds existed.
Moreover, at the beginning of the adjudication stage,
Respondent's attorney requested a continuance from the trial court
so that a home study could be completed to evaluate placement with
Respondent's grandmother. In denying the motion to continue, Judge
Cole stated that he would move on at least [to] the adjudication
stage and determine whether or not the grounds for termination
exist. And at that point even if we find that the grounds do
exist, we can always continue the disposition to allow for a home
study to be completed. After stipulating that grounds existed to
terminate Respondent's parental rights, Respondent's attorney again
requested a continuance. At the conclusion of the adjudication
stage of the hearing, in response to Respondent's repeatedrequests, the trial court continued the matter for ninety days
before proceeding with the disposition stage. Therefore, to the
extent Respondent now argues that the delay between the
adjudication and disposition stages constitutes prejudicial error,
we disagree and determine that because Respondent invited the
delay, her argument is without merit.
Finally, in In re J.L.K., 165 N.C. App. 311, 316, 598 S.E.2d
387, 391, disc. review denied, 359 N.C. 68, 604 S.E.2d 314 (2004),
this Court determined that a violation of N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-
1109(e) does not constitute grounds for reversal of a termination
of parental rights order unless a respondent can demonstrate that
he suffered any prejudice by the trial court's delay. In her
brief to this Court, Respondent contends that she was prejudiced by
being unable to file her notice of appeal[,] DSS was prejudiced
by being unable to achieve a permanent plan for the
juvenile[s][,] and the juveniles and their potential adoptive
parents were prejudiced by being unable to achieve permanence[.]
These arguments concern disposition, not adjudication. There is
and can be no contention that the dispositional order was untimely
filed. We therefore are not persuaded by Respondent's argument.
This assignment of error is overruled.
Respondent next argues that the trial court was without
subject matter jurisdiction because the petition to terminate her
parental rights failed to include an affidavit of the status of the
child, in violation of N.C. Gen. Stat. § 50A-209. In North Carolina, jurisdiction for proceedings to terminate
parental rights is governed by N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-1101. That
statute provides in relevant part that the trial court
shall have exclusive original jurisdiction to
hear and determine any petition or motion
relating to termination of parental rights to
any juvenile who resides in, is found in, or
is in the legal or actual custody of a county
department of social services or licensed
child-placing agency in the district at the
time of filing of the petition or motion.
. . . . Provided, that before exercising
jurisdiction under this Article, the court
shall find that it would have jurisdiction to
make a child-custody determination under the
provisions of G.S. 50A-201, 50A-203, or 50A-
N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-1101 (2003). The Uniform Child-Custody
Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act provides that before a court of
this state may exercise jurisdiction in a juvenile matter, it must
evaluate the presence and duration of time in the state of the
child and the child's parents, and the rights of other states to
exercise jurisdiction in the matter. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 50A-201
(2003). To aid in this evaluation, in a child custody proceeding,
each party, in its first pleading or in an
attached affidavit, shall give information, if
reasonably ascertainable, under oath as to the
child's present address or whereabouts, the
places where the child has lived during the
last five years, and the names and present
addresses of the persons with whom the child
has lived during that period. The pleading or
affidavit must state whether the party:
(1) Has participated, as a party or
witness or in any other capacity, in
any other proceeding concerning the
custody of or visitation with the
child and, if so, the pleading or
affidavit shall identify the court,
the case number, and the date of the
child-custody determination, if any; (2) Knows of any proceeding that could
affect the current proceeding,
including proceedings for
enforcement and proceedings relating
to domestic violence, protective
orders, termination of parental
rights, and adoptions and, if so,
the pleading or affidavit shall
identify the court, the case number,
and the nature of the proceeding;
(3) Knows the names and addresses of any
person not a party to the proceeding
who has physical custody of the
child or claims rights of legal
custody or physical custody of, or
visitation with, the child and, if
so, the names and addresses of those
N.C. Gen. Stat. § 50A-209(a) (2003). The information in the
affidavit is intended to assist the trial court in determining
whether it can assume subject matter jurisdiction over the matter.
In re Clark, 159 N.C. App. 75, 79, 582 S.E.2d 657, 660 (2003)
(citing Brewington v. Serrato, 77 N.C. App. 726, 336 S.E.2d 444
(1985)). The official comment to N.C. Gen. Stat. § 50A-209 states
that although the statute authorizes the court to stay the
proceeding until the information required in subsection (a) has
been disclosed, . . . failure to provide the information does not
deprive the court of jurisdiction to hear the case. Moreover,
this Court has held that failure to file this affidavit does not,
by itself, divest the trial court of jurisdiction. Clark, 159
N.C. App. at 79, 582 S.E.2d at 660 (citing Pheasant v. McKibben,
100 N.C. App. 379, 396 S.E.2d 333 (1990), disc. review denied, 328
N.C. 92, 402 S.E.2d 417 (1991)). In a more recent case, this Court, relying on Clark, held that
failure to file the affidavit as required by N.C. Gen. Stat. § 50A-
209 did not divest the trial court of jurisdiction. In re J.D.S.,
170 N.C. App. 244, 612 S.E.2d 350, cert. denied, 360 N.C. 64, 623
S.E.2d 584 (2005). In so holding, the Court reasoned that the
trial court's findings and conclusions regarding jurisdiction are
supported by the record. Id. at 249, 612 S.E.2d at 354; but see
In re A.R.G., ___ N.C. App. ___, ___, 631 S.E.2d 146, 149-50 (2006)
(Wynn, J., dissenting)(suggesting the trial court did not have
jurisdiction because the affidavit was not filed until six months
after the termination order was entered by the trial court).
In the case sub judice, as in J.D.S., although an affidavit
was not filed, the trial court's determination that it had
jurisdiction to determine the petition to terminate parental rights
is supported by the record. Attached by reference to the
termination of parental rights petition were the birth certificates
of each child, and various orders regarding this matter, including
non-secure custody orders, adjudication and disposition orders,
review orders, and permanency planning orders. These documents
track the history of this case and the placement of each child as
the case progressed from the initial non-secure custody order to
the petition to terminate Respondent's parental rights. The record
demonstrates that uninterrupted custody of the juveniles has been
with DSS since physical custody was taken on 19 April 2001 and the
initial non-secure custody order was filed on 30 May 2001.
Although the juveniles were placed both in foster homes in NorthCarolina and with relatives in New York, DSS never ceased its
involvement in the lives of these children. Moreover, when the
children were placed with relatives in New York and, for logistical
reasons, that state's department of social services provided on-
site reviews, DSS was in continual communication with the on-site
social services office. Additionally, nothing in the record
demonstrates that a New York court, or a court of any other state,
ever exercised jurisdiction in this matter. Finally, under N.C.
Gen. Stat. § 50A-209, Respondent also has the duty to disclose any
information relevant to the trial court's evaluation of its subject
matter jurisdiction. The fact that Respondent's initial pleading
is silent as to any information required by N.C. Gen. Stat. § 50A-
209 further strengthens the trial court's determination that it
could properly exercise subject matter jurisdiction in this case.
Accordingly, we find this argument without merit.
By her next argument, Respondent claims that the trial court
erred in finding and concluding that she stipulated to the facts in
paragraphs 9(a), 9(b), and 9(c) of the termination of parental
rights petition. Those paragraphs specifically set out the grounds
alleged to exist to support the termination of Respondent's
parental rights. Additionally, Respondent argues that without this
stipulation, the trial court erred in concluding that grounds
existed to terminate her parental rights.
'[S]tipulations are judicial admissions and are therefore
binding in every sense, preventing the party who agreed to thestipulation from introducing evidence to dispute it and relieving
the other party of the necessity of producing evidence to establish
an admitted fact.' In re I.S.
, 170 N.C. App. 78, 86, 611 S.E.2d
467, 472 (2005) (quoting Thomas v. Poole
, 54 N.C. App. 239, 241,
282 S.E.2d 515, 517 (1981) (citations omitted), disc. review
, 304 N.C. 733, 287 S.E.2d 902 (1982)). Generally, our
courts favor stipulations that are designed to simplify litigation.
Sloop v. Friberg
, 70 N.C. App. 690, 320 S.E.2d 921 (1984).
However, [w]hen construing a stipulation a court must attempt to
effectuate the intention of the party making the stipulation as to
what facts were to be stipulated without making a construction
giving the stipulation the effect of admitting a fact the party
intended to contest. I.S.
, 170 N.C. App. at 87, 611 S.E.2d at 473
(citing Rickert v. Rickert
, 282 N.C. 373, 193 S.E.2d 79 (1972)).
During the adjudication stage of the termination hearing,
Respondent's attorney (Ms. Norcross) addressed the trial court and
MS. NORCROSS: Your Honor, as to the mother
only because that is the only
person that I have authority to
speak for, we would be willing
to stipulate to paragraph nine
(9), that subparagraph A, B,
and C on (inaudible) what were
the others that I didn't __
. . . .
MS. NORCROSS: We would stipulate to the basis
of those, Your Honor. And
further, we would add that
disposition be held over to alater date so that we can be
prepared for that.
The subparagraphs to which Respondent's attorney refers, contained
in the petition to terminate parental rights, allege, inter alia:
a. That [Respondent] . . . neglected the
children within the meaning of North
Carolina General Statute Section 7B-
b. That [Respondent] . . . willfully left
the children in foster care or placement
outside the home for more than twelve
(12) months without showing to the
satisfaction of the Court that reasonable
progress under the circumstances have
[sic] been made within twelve (12) months
in correcting the conditions which led to
the removal of the children[.]
c. The children have been placed in the
custody of the petitioner and
[Respondent] . . . for a period of six
months next preceding the filing of this
petition, [has] willfully failed for such
period to pay a reasonable portion of the
cost of care for the children, although
physically and financially able to do so.
Moreover, later in the hearing, the trial court addressed
THE COURT: [Respondent], stand up please.
MS. NORCROSS: She's having a hard time
THE COURT: What we have done today through
your attorney is to agree that
grounds[,] that if we were to
present all the evidence today
in court that the Court, that I
would be able to return a
finding either as to any one
for a termination of parental
rights, all we need is one
ground, not all three. And so
what we have agreed to do
today[,] because you have
agreed that at least one ground
exists, you've stipulated that
all three (3) grounds exist, Iam ordering that disposition be
continued for a period of
ninety (90) days.
That puts you right back in the
_ _ in the picture . . . you
may decide it's in the best
interest that the adoption move
forward, but at least you_all
have that time _ _ you've got
time to talk to Ms. Norcross
and you come back in ninety
(90) days if this has not been
resolved then we will have a
full blown hearing at that time
as to _ _ at that time the
Court will have to decide even
though grounds exist whether in
fact to terminate the parental
[O]ften times attorneys and
their clients will get into a
contest as to whether the
grounds exist and more often
than not, the grounds do exist.
The fight is . . . even though
the grounds exist, whether or
not the Court should terminate
the parental rights. And I
allow a lot of latitude and we
do it this way. So work with
Ms. Norcross, you_all decide
what you_all are going to do.
It is clear that Respondent's attorney stipulated to the existence
of all three grounds alleged in the petition to terminate
Respondent's parental rights. Respondent, however, now argues that
the stipulation is not valid because she did not personally
stipulate to the existence of these grounds. We find Respondent's
argument without merit.
Respondent provides no authority, and our research fails to
find support for Respondent's contention, that she should not be
bound by the stipulations of her attorney. On the contrary, thisCourt has held that, in a termination proceeding, a party's
attorney may stipulate to facts, and those stipulations are binding
on the party. See I.S., 170 N.C. App. at 86, 611 S.E.2d at 472.
Moreover, other than Respondent's attorney's statement that
[s]he's having a hard time hearing[,] there is no proof that
Respondent could not hear, understand, or, through her attorney,
participate in the proceeding, including decisions regarding
Further, we are persuaded by Judge Cole's thorough explanation
to Respondent of what had transpired and what was to come. The
trial court did not have the obligation to ask Respondent if she
understood what was happening, or to explain any procedures to her.
Therefore, we believe Respondent's present assertion, that her
stipulation to the existence of grounds to terminate her parental
rights was not valid, is without merit.
For this reason, the trial court did not err in finding and
concluding that grounds existed to terminate Respondent's parental
rights. This assignment of error is overruled.
Respondent next argues that the trial court erred in failing
to make independent findings of fact in its adjudicatory order,
instead adopting the language from previous underlying court
orders. We disagree.
In the adjudicatory order, the trial court found that:
After the matter was called for hearing and
after the Court had taken judicial notice of
the prior Orders and Court reports, the
biological mother, knowingly and voluntarily,after conferring with her counsel, stipulated
in open Court that the facts and grounds for
termination of parental rights as stated in
paragraphs 9(a)(b)(c) of the Petition to
Terminate Parental Rights were admitted and
would be found by clear, cogent and convincing
evidence by the Court.
Once the trial court made this finding, all other findings,
including those adopted from the prior court orders, established
the procedural history of the case. Further, in light of this
finding, the other findings from previous orders were unnecessary
to establish that grounds existed to terminate Respondent's
Once Respondent stipulated to the existence of grounds to
terminate her parental rights, the trial court concluded the
adjudication stage, hearing no evidence and leaving only the prior
orders and reports on which to rely. Therefore, because
Respondent's stipulation led to the trial court's actions, we are
not persuaded by her argument that the trial court erred by failing
to make independent findings of fact and impermissibly relied on
the prior orders. Additionally, there is no restriction against
the inclusion of findings of fact in a termination order that
mirror findings of fact from prior orders in the same case.
Rather, this Court has held only that the trial court's factual
findings must be more than a recitation of allegations. In re
Anderson, 151 N.C. App. 94, 97, 564 S.E.2d 599, 602 (2002). In
this case, the trial court's order is clearly more than a mere
recitation of the allegations. Judge Cole's adjudicatory order did
more than find that the juveniles were neglected, left in fostercare for twelve months without Respondent making reasonable
progress toward improving the conditions that led to their removal,
or left in foster care for six months without Respondent paying a
reasonable portion for their support although physically and
financially capable. The eighty-three page adjudicatory order
contains detailed findings of fact on all three of the grounds
alleged, including a description of the lives of the juveniles and
the neglect from which they suffered, the opportunities that
Respondent was given to make progress toward being reunited with
her children and how she inexplicably failed to take advantage of
these opportunities, and a description of the work opportunities
that Respondent took advantage of and the amount of income she was
able to generate, while nonetheless failing to provide adequate
support for her children. Judge Cole's order is clearly more than
a mere recitation of allegations, and this argument is overruled.
By her final argument, Respondent contends the trial court
erred in finding and concluding that it would be in the juveniles'
best interest to terminate Respondent's parental rights.
Under North Carolina law, [a]fter an adjudication that one or
more grounds for terminating a parent's rights exist, the court
shall determine whether terminating the parent's rights is in the
juvenile's best interest. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-1110(a) (2005).
The decision to terminate parental rights rests within the
discretion of the trial court. In re Blackburn
, 142 N.C. App. 607,
543 S.E.2d 906 (2001). In making this determination, [t]he bestinterest of the children is the polar star by which the discretion
of the court is guided. Bost v. Van Nortwick
, 117 N.C. App. 1, 8,
449 S.E.2d 911, 915 (1994) (internal citations and quotations
omitted), appeal dismissed
, 340 N.C. 109, 458 S.E.2d 183 (1995).
A trial court's decision to terminate parental rights is thus
reviewed under an abuse of discretion standard. In re C.D.A.W.
___ N.C. App. ___, 625 S.E.2d 139 (2006).
After a thorough review of the testimony and record herein, we
find no basis for holding that the trial court abused its
discretion in choosing to terminate Respondent's parental rights.
The evidence presented to the trial court demonstrated that the
juveniles have been in the physical custody of DSS since 19 April
2001. Since that time, the children have bounced between
placements in foster homes in North Carolina and with family
members in New York. The continual change and domestic upheaval
have not been conducive to the intellectual or emotional growth of
the children, and both children need stability in their lives to be
able to mature. There is no indication from the evidence or the
testimony presented at the hearing that Respondent will be
financially or emotionally capable of parenting these children at
any time in the foreseeable future.
Moreover, the overwhelming evidence before the trial court
established that the children were markedly improving in their
current placements, had fewer behavior problems when they were
placed separately, and that each child's current placement was
moving toward permanency. Indeed, Ms. Roberts testified thatpermanent adoptive placement was necessary for the boys and that,
for each child, time [was] of the essence. In light of the
testimony that each boy is finally experiencing success in his
current placement, and that permanency is finally within reach, we
hold that the trial court did not abuse its discretion by
terminating Respondent's parental rights. Accordingly, this
assignment of error is overruled.
The orders of the trial court from which Respondent appeals
Judges STEELMAN and GEER concur.
Report per Rule 30(e).
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