RALPH EDWARD SETZER,
v . Guilford County
No. 01 CVS 8403
LEGACY ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES,
INC., A NORTH CAROLINA
CORPORATION, AND HENRY NEMARGUT,
K.E. Kripsen Culbertson, for plaintiff-appellant.
Forman, Rossabi Black, P.A., by Amiel J. Rossabi, for defendants-appellees.
Plaintiff (Ralph Edward Setzer) appeals an order denying his motion for reimbursement. This case arises from a commercial dispute between the parties. Due to a substantial violation of N.C.R. App. P. 10(c)(1), we dismiss this appeal.
It is well settled that the Rules of Appellate Procedure are mandatory and not directory. Thus, compliance with the Rules is required. State v. Hart, __ N.C. __, __, 644 S.E.2d 201, 203 (2007) (internal citations and quotation marks omitted).
N.C.R. App. P. 10(c)(1) provides, in pertinent part that:
. . . Each assignment of error shall, so far as practicable, be confined to a single issueof law; and shall state plainly, concisely and without argumentation the legal basis upon which error is assigned. An assignment of error is sufficient if it directs the attention of the appellate court to the particular error about which the question is made. . . .
Our courts have been clear to articulate that absent a specific legal basis, an assignment of error is deemed abandoned. The legal basis need not be particularly polished; it need only put the appellee and this Court on notice of the legal issues that will be contested on appeal. Collins v. St. George Physical Therapy, 141 N.C. App. 82, 89, 539 S.E.2d 356, 361-62 (2000)(citations omitted). [A]ssignments of error [that are] . . . broad, vague, and unspecific . . . do not comply with the North Carolina Rules of Appellate Procedure[.] In re Appeal of Lane Co., 153 N.C. App. 119, 123, 571 S.E.2d 224, 226-27 (2002).
In the instant case, plaintiff's sole assignment of error materially fails to comply with Rule 10(c)(1). The assignment of error follows:
The trial court erred in finding that the Plaintiff's Motion for Reimbursement should be denied and in denying Plaintiff's Motion for Reimbursement.
This assignment of error does not state a legal basis upon which error is assigned, and does not articulate any legal rationale for why the trial court's actions were in error. This assignment of error would allow plaintiff to argue any potential legal error on appeal, something not sanctioned by our appellate rules. See Hart, __ N.C. at __, 644 S.E.2d at 204; see also Broderick v. Broderick, 175 N.C. App. 501, 503, 623 S.E.2d 806, 807(2006)(dismissal of appeal ex meru motu when plaintiff's assignment of error failed to set forth any legal issue for appellate review in violation of Rule 10(c)(1)).
On this record, we decline to suspend the requirements of the Rules; doing so is not necessary to prevent manifest injustice to a party, or to expedite decision in the public interest. N.C.R. App. P. 2. In Hart, our Supreme Court stated:
When the North Carolina Rules of Appellate Procedure were adopted by this Court, the rules drafting committee saw fit to note that Rule 2 expresses an obvious residual power possessed by any authoritative rule-making body to suspend or vary operation of its published rules in specific cases where this is necessary to accomplish a fundamental purpose of the rules. Thus, the exercise of Rule 2 was intended to be limited to occasions in which a fundamental purpose of the appellate rules is at stake, which will necessarily be rare occasions.
Hart, __ N.C. at __, 644 S.E.2d at 205 (internal citations and quotation marks omitted). Additionally, our Supreme Court cautioned that, [b]efore exercising Rule 2 to prevent a manifest injustice, . . . the Court of Appeals must be cognizant of the appropriate circumstances in which the extraordinary step of suspending the operation of the appellate rules is a viable option. Id. And, as Hart recognized, Rule 2 has been utilized more frequently in the criminal context when severe punishments were imposed. Id. (citations omitted).
We decline to exercise our authority pursuant to Rule 2, and therefore dismiss this appeal because of appellant's substantial non-compliance with Rule 10(c)(1). Dismissed.
Judges McGEE and JACKSON concur.
Report per Rule 30(e).
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