In re L.Z.A., 249 N.C. App. 628 (2016)

  • “[I]t is not per se reversible error for a trial court’s fact findings to mirror the wording of a petition or other pleading prepared by a party.” In re J.W., ___ N.C. App. ___, ___, 772 S.E.2d 249, 253 (2015).  Although the adjudication order in this case included some findings of fact that were verbatim recitations of the allegations in the petition, the record shows the trial court exercised a process of logical reasoning, based on the evidentiary facts before it, to find the ultimate facts necessary to adjudicate the child abused and neglected. The record shows the court engaged in an independent decision-making process when it (1) made substantive findings in its order that are not verbatim recitations of the language in the petition, (2) considered evidence from days of witness testimony and the admitted medical records, and (3) took the matter under advisement and modified a proposed finding it discussed with the parties. 
  • Respondents’ challenges to findings of fact that addressed the possible time frames for the child’s injuries were supported by competent evidence. There was one finding that was not supported by evidence, but the error was not prejudicial.
Abuse, Neglect, Dependency
Findings of Fact
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