An unpublished opinion of the North Carolina Court of Appeals does not constitute controlling legal authority.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

NO. COA04-809


Filed: 5 April 2005


v .                         Wayne County
                            No. 01 CVD 1394

    Appeal by plaintiff from judgment entered 13 January 2004 by Judge David B. Brantley in the District Court in Wayne County. Heard in the Court of Appeals 7 March 2005.

    Alonzo Lee Beale, plaintiff, pro se.

    No brief filed for defendant.

    HUDSON, Judge.

    This case arises from a child custody dispute between plaintiff Alonzo L. Beale and his former wife, defendant Chrishenna King Manley, over custody of the parties' minor children, A.J. and Ardeja. Plaintiff and defendant entered a consent order for joint legal custody on 6 November 2001. Under the terms of that order, defendant had primary physical custody and the children were to spend Wednesdays and every other weekend with plaintiff, in addition to half of the overnights during school holidays. In July of 2002, defendant moved with the children to California. On 31 December 2002, plaintiff filed a motion to show cause as to why defendant should not be held in contempt for violating the consentorder, and also sought primary custody of the children. By order entered 13 January 2004 and following a hearing, the court made detailed findings of fact and concluded that because of the distance between the homes of the parties, it was in the children's best interest to modify the custody provisions. The court found no substantial change in circumstances, but modified the physical custody provisions due to the distance, awarding plaintiff custody during summer recess and during Christmas break from school. Plaintiff appeals. As discussed below, we dismiss this appeal.
    Plaintiff's brief contains numerous violations of the North Carolina Rules of Appellate Procedure. Although appellee has filed no brief, we note these violations on our own motion. Jeffreys v. Raleigh Oaks Joint Venture, 115 N.C. App. 377, 380, 444 S.E.2d 252, 254 (1994). Plaintiff's brief was submitted in single-spaced typefont. N.C. R. App. P. 26 (g). Plaintiff's brief contains no cover page, statement of questions presented for review, statement of procedural history, or statement of grounds for appellate review. N.C. R. App. P. 28(b). In addition, plaintiff's statement of facts is incomplete and argumentative. Id. The brief fails to cite any authority for its arguments and contentions. Id. Finally, the record on appeal lists some twelve assignments of error, but plaintiff's brief makes no reference to any of these, as required by Rule 28. N.C. R. App. P. 28(b)(6) . “[W]hen the appellant's brief does not . . . properly set[] forth exceptions and assignments of error with reference to the transcript . . . it is difficult if not impossible to properly determine the appeal.” Steingress v. Steingress, 350 N.C. 64, 66, 511 S.E.2d 298, 299 (1999) (internal citations omitted). The appellate rules are not merely technical; rather, they are intended to facilitate effective consideration of an appellant's arguments. “[T]he Rules of Appellate Procedure[] are mandatory and failure to follow these rules will subject an appeal to dismissal.” Steingress, 350 N.C. at 65, 511 S.E.2d at 299 (internal citations omitted). Although plaintiff is appearing pro se, the rules are equally applicable to him. “[T]hese rules apply to everyone -- whether acting pro se or being represented by all of the five largest law firms in the state. Because plaintiff violated many of the appellate rules, his appeal must be dismissed, notwithstanding his pro se status.” Bledsoe v. County of Wilkes, 135 N.C. App. 124, 125, 519 S.E.2d 316, 317 (1999).
    This Court may waive the rules, in its discretion, and consider the substance of an appellant's arguments. N.C. R. App. P. 2. However, here we conclude that because of plaintiff's numerous violations of the rules, he has not properly presented any issues for review and this appeal should be dismissed.
    Chief Judge MARTIN and Judge JACKSON concur.
    Report per Rule 30(e).

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