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Clifton Servs. v. Dir., Dep't of Wokforce Servs.

Court of Appeals of Arkansas, Division I

October 22, 2014

CLIFTON SERVICES, INC., APPELLANT
v.
DIRECTOR, DEPARTMENT OF WORKFORCE SERVICES, EMPLOYER CONTRIBUTIONS UNIT, APPELLEE

APPEAL FROM THE ARKANSAS BOARD OF REVIEW. NO. 2011-BR-5 EC.

Jensen Young & Houston, PLLC, by: Brent D. Houston, for appellant.

Phyllis A. Edwards, for appellee.

PHILLIP T. WHITEAKER, Judge. GRUBER and VAUGHT, JJ., agree.

OPINION

Page 539

PHILLIP T. WHITEAKER, Judge.

This is an appeal from a determination by the Board of Review (" Board" ) that appellant Clifton Services, Inc., was the employer of Jerome Allen and thus subject to the payment of unemployment-insurance taxes pursuant to Arkansas Code Annotated section 11-10-210(e) (Repl. 2012). Clifton Services raises two arguments on appeal. It first contends that the Board erroneously determined that it was Allen's employer. Second, it argues that the Board and the Director of the Department of Workforce Services improperly relied on an unpublished Board of Review decision in reaching their determinations. We find no error and affirm.

The appellate courts will affirm the decision of the Board of Review if it is supported by substantial evidence. Mamo Transp., Inc. v. Williams, 375 Ark. 97, 289 S.W.3d 79 (2008); W. Land Servs., Inc. v. Dir., 2012 Ark.App. 161. Substantial evidence is such relevant evidence as reasonable minds might accept as adequate to support a conclusion. Mamo Transp., supra. We view the evidence and all reasonable inferences deducible therefrom in the light most favorable to the Board's findings. Id. Even if the evidence could support a different decision, our review is limited to whether the Board could have reasonably reached its decision based on the evidence presented. Id.

The issue presented in this case involves a relationship between Clifton Services, truck driver Jerome Allen, and a third business entity named Builder's Transportation Co. (" Builder's" ). Clifton Services, which is owned by Tommy Clifton, entered into a " lease purchase contract" with Allen whereby Allen agreed to purchase a truck tractor from Clifton Services. Under the terms of the contract, Allen would make 175 weekly lease payments of $375 until the purchase price of $65,625 was paid, at which time Clifton Services would transfer title of the truck to Allen. Allen was given possession of the truck, was responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of the truck, and had the right to determine " the means of performance to its lessee motor carrier," including matters like travel routes and whether to accept a dispatch. Allen would remain in possession of the truck so long as he did not default on his payments. In the event of default, however, Clifton Services could repossess the truck.

Regarding payments and default, Allen agreed to " execute an assignment as to all income derived from operation of the leased vehicle in favor of [Clifton Services]" and agreed that Clifton Services could " deduct all lease payments," as well as amounts sufficient to cover license fees and highway-use taxes, from the income that Allen earned by operating the truck. The agreement also contained the following provision:

Purchaser [Allen] understands that the total earnings of the truck are covered by a lease to a motor carrier. Purchaser may lease the truck to a motor carrier chosen by Purchaser, but agrees to the requirement for an assignment of income to Seller to protect Seller's interest. In the event Purchaser leases the truck to a motor carrier which will not accept assignment of the income, Seller reserves the right to terminate this agreement upon the giving of two weeks' notice to Purchaser.

At the time of signing the agreement, Builder's was the only trucking company that would agree to the income-assignment requirement.

Allen thus leased the truck to Builder's. Builder's would send dispatches to Allen, who would then deliver the load to its ...


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