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An unpublished opinion of the North Carolina Court of Appeals does not constitute controlling legal authority.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.

NO. COA06-1121

NORTH CAROLINA COURT OF APPEALS

Filed: 5 June 2007

IN THE MATTER OF:                            Harnett County                                    
    J.M.E.,                                Nos. 03J75-76,
    E.C.M.,                                    05J39
    M.M.M., Minor Children

    Appeal by respondent-mother from orders entered 9 November 2005 by Judge Albert A. Corbett, Jr., in Harnett County District Court. Heard in the Court of Appeals 28 March 2007.

    Leslie R. Nydick for respondent-mother appellant.

    Elizabeth Boone for Guardian ad litem.

            E. Marshall Woodall for Harnett County Department of Social Services.


    McCULLOUGH, Judge.

    Respondent-mother appeals from district court orders terminating her parental rights with regard to two of her children, and an adjudication and disposition order with regard to a third child. We dismiss.

FACTS
    M.M.M., E.C.M., and J.M.E. are children of respondent-mother (“respondent”). Harnett County Department of Social Services (“DSS”) filed petitions for E.C.M. and M.M.M. on 22 May 2003 alleging neglect and dependency. Nonsecure custody, placing the children in the custody of DSS, was continued until the adjudication/disposition hearing held on 13 June 2003. Pursuant to stipulation of the parties, the juveniles were adjudicated to bedependent, and DSS was awarded custody under a plan of reunification with respondent.
    The parties and attorneys agreed to combine the termination of parental rights actions in E.C.M. and M.M.M.'s cases with the adjudication of J.M.E. The hearing was held on 23 May 2005, 31 May 2005, 28 July 2005 and 11 October 2005. The trial court terminated respondent's parental rights to E.C.M. and M.M.M. on the grounds of neglect, willfully leaving the children in foster care, failure to pay child support, and dependency on 11 October 2005. J.M.E. was adjudicated neglected on 11 October 2005. Both termination orders and the adjudication order were filed on 9 November 2005. Respondent appeals from all three orders.
ANALYSIS

    “It is well settled that the Rules of Appellate Procedure 'are mandatory and not directory.'” State v. Hart, (No. 446A06), ___ N.C. ___, ___, ___ S.E.2d ___, ___ (filed May 4, 2007). “Thus, compliance with the Rules is required.” Id. “However, every violation of the rules does not require dismissal of the appeal or the issue . . ..” Id. In the instant case, the appeal is dismissed because respondent failed to comply with Rule 28(b) and Rule 10(c). Id. (stating that a violation of the North Carolina Rules of Appellate Procedure subjects an appeal to dismissal). However, even if we had decided to exercise our discretion under Rule 2 to suspend the rules, we still would have affirmed the trial court.     With respect to an appellant's brief, Rule 28 requires the following:
            (6) An argument, to contain the contentions of the appellant with respect to each question presented. Each question shall be separately stated. Immediately following each question shall be a reference to the assignments of error pertinent to the question, identified by their numbers and by the pages at which they appear in the printed record on appeal. Assignments of error not set out in the appellant's brief, or in support of which no reason or argument is stated or authority cited, will be taken as abandoned.

N.C. R. App. P. 28(b)(6) (emphasis added). The rule requires the appellant to reference each assignment of error pertinent to the particular question presented, along with the page number in the record where we can find the particular assignment of error. In the instant case, the appellant did include a reference to the assignments of error after each question, however, the page numbers included with the references are not correct. The page numbers in the brief direct our attention to pages in the record that do not include the assignments of error.
    Rule 9(b) requires the pages of the record on appeal to be paginated consecutively. N.C. R. App. P. 9(b)(4). In the instant case, many pages were not paginated, especially in part two of the record.    
     As stated above, even if we had decided to exercise our discretion under Rule 2 to suspend the rules, we still would have affirmed the trial court. We have reviewed respondent's arguments, and we determine they are without merit. Below is our reasoning,and it is based on our best efforts to determine which assignments of error respondent meant to include in the brief since the page numbers referencing the record did not refer to the page where the assignments of error were located.
    In regard to J.M.E., respondent listed four assignments of error in her brief. Accordingly, the other seven assignments of error included in the record for J.M.E. are abandoned. N.C. R. App. P. 28(b)(6). Of the four assignments included in the brief for J.M.E., two of them are contesting a trial court order that was not appealed from in respondent's notice of appeal. Therefore, only two assignments of error are before this Court regarding J.M.E. The assignments contend that the trial court erred in finding and concluding that it was in the best interest of J.M.E. for his custody to be awarded to DSS with authority to place the child. If we had exercised our discretion under Rule 2 and not dismissed the case, we would have agreed with the trial court.
    The contentions presented by respondent in regard to E.C.M. and M.M.M. are similar. First, concerning E.C.M., respondent listed seven assignments of error in her brief. Accordingly, the other four assignments of error included in the record for E.C.M. are abandoned. Id. Next, in regard to M.M.M., respondent listed four assignments of error in her brief. Accordingly, one assignment of error included in the record for M.M.M. is abandoned. Id.
    Respondent's first contention in her brief concerning E.C.M. and M.M.M. argues the trial court erred by failing to appoint aguardian ad litem for respondent pursuant to N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B- 602(b)(1) (2001). The statute, which both respondent and DSS agree controlled the instant case because of the date of the filing of the petitions, provides in pertinent part:
        In addition to the right to appointed counsel . . . a guardian ad litem shall be appointed in accordance with the provisions of G.S. 1A- 1, Rule 17, to represent a parent in the following cases:

                (1)    Where it is alleged that the juvenile is a dependent juvenile within the meaning of G.S. 7B-101 in that the parent is incapable as the result of substance abuse, mental retardation, mental illness, organic brain syndrome, or any other similar cause or condition of providing for the proper care and supervision of the juvenile[.]

Id. As we explained in In re H.W., 163 N.C. App. 438, 594 S.E.2d 211, disc. review denied, 358 N.C. 543, 599 S.E.2d 46, disc. review denied, 358 N.C. 543, 603 S.E.2d 877 (2004), section 7B-602 requires the appointment of a “guardian ad litem only in cases where (1) it is alleged that a juvenile is dependent; and (2) the juvenile's dependency is alleged to be caused by a parent or guardian being ' incapable as the result of substance abuse, mental retardation, mental illness, organic brain syndrome, or any other similar cause or condition of providing for the proper care and supervision of the juvenile.'” Id. at 447, 594 S.E.2d at 216.
    Here, the trial court did not err. First, there is some evidence in the record that a guardian ad litem was appointed for respondent. Next, the petition for termination did not allege that respondent mother was incapable as the result of substance abuse,mental retardation, mental illness, organic brain syndrome, or any other similar cause or condition of providing for the proper care and supervision of the juvenile. Rather, E.C.M.'s petition states that respondent suffers from diabetes and is unable to care for the child. In addition, the record appears to be missing the second page of M.M.M.'s petition, so we are not exactly sure what the petition alleged in M.M.M.'s case. Also, there is not an assignment of error which even states the words “guardian ad litem.” Therefore, we disagree with respondent.
    Respondent's next contention concerning E.C.M. and M.M.M. is that the trial court erred in not giving her an interpreter when she signed a voluntary placement agreement. First, many of the findings of fact that are contested by the assignments of error have nothing to do with respondent's contention. Next, respondent was not prejudiced by signing the placement agreement because the day after it was signed, the court entered a non-secure custody order granting custody of the children to DSS, which negated the placement agreement.
    Respondent's last contention concerning E.C.M. and M.M.M. is that the trial court erred in concluding that DSS exercised reasonable efforts since the filing of the petition to reunify respondent with her children. However, there are ample findings of fact that were not objected to that illustrate that DSS has exercised reasonable efforts to reunify respondent with her children.    We dismiss the instant case due to violations of the Rules of Appellate Procedure.
    Dismissed.
    Judges CALABRIA and STROUD concur.
    Report per Rule 30(e).

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