In re Clayton, 159 N.C. App. 228, 582 S.E.2d 727 (2003)

Found not to be an abuse of discretion when judge failed to review confidential DSS information before denying a party's discovery request.
"In this case, respondent broadly requested the names and contact information of anyone possessing knowledge or documents and other items related to the juvenile’s condition as well as other records maintained by DSS. The requested records, however, fall under the ambit of the confidentiality provisions of section 7B-2901(b), see N.C.G.S. § 7B-2901(b), and are also similar to the information this Court previously concluded was properly limited by a protective order in Ritter, 67 N.C. App. at 334-36, 313 S.E.2d at 1-3 (finding that the purpose of the confidentiality statute “to encourage reporting of abuse and neglect, provided ample basis for an exercise of judicial discretion to deny plaintiff access to names of . . . persons making reports”). Furthermore, respondent makes no contention that the requested records would otherwise be material and favorable to her position. Under these facts, we conclude the trial court was not required to conduct an in camera review or make findings of fact under either sections 7B-700(a) or 7B-2901(b). Although the better practice would be for the trial court to review the documents and make findings supporting its decision, failure to do so in this case did not constitute an abuse of discretion. Thus, the trial court did not err in denying respondent discovery." 

Children's Services

State case