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Trucks for You, Inc. v. Dir., Dep't of Workforce Servs.

Court of Appeals of Arkansas, Division III

November 5, 2014

TRUCKS FOR YOU, INC., APPELLANT
v.
DIRECTOR, DEPARTMENT OF WORKFORCE SERVICES, and LUTHER WILLIAMS, APPELLEES

APPEAL FROM THE ARKANSAS BOARD OF REVIEW. No. 2013-BR-01659.

Wright, Stout & Wilburn, PLLC, by: Justin Stout, for appellant.

Phyllis Edwards, for appellees.

LARRY D. VAUGHT, Judge. GLOVER and WOOD, JJ., agree.

OPINION

LARRY D. VAUGHT, Judge

In this unemployment case, appellant Trucks for You, Inc. (TFY), appeals the Board of Review's (Board) award of benefits to Luther Williams, finding that TFY

Page 149

failed to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that Williams was discharged from his last work for misconduct in connection with the work. TFY contends on appeal that substantial evidence fails to support the Board's decision. Due to deficiencies in TFY's abstract, we order rebriefing.

The facts giving rise to Williams's claim for unemployment, as set forth in the Appeal Tribunal and Board of Review decisions, are as follows. TFY terminated Williams, its truck driver, on March 4, 2013, after it learned that approximately 900 gallons (valued at $3000) of fuel had been charged to Williams's fuel card in a two-day period at fuel stations in the same city. Williams reported to TFY that the tractor-trailer and his fuel card had been stolen on March 1, 2013; however, TFY maintained that termination was warranted because the fuel card was inoperable without authorization codes, which it contended Williams must have provided.

Upon termination, Williams filed for unemployment benefits. TFY contested the claim, arguing that Williams was not an employee but an independent contractor and alternatively, that he was terminated for misconduct in connection with the work. The Agency disagreed and found that Williams was terminated because his truck had been stolen and that TFY failed to provide sufficient information to establish Williams's misconduct.

TFY appealed the Agency decision and after a telephone hearing, the Appeal Tribunal found that Williams was an employee of TFY and that Williams, more likely than not, charged the 900 gallons of fuel to TFY without needing it for work, which showed an intentional disregard of TFY's best interest. Accordingly, the Appeal Tribunal concluded that Williams was discharged from TFY for misconduct in connection with the work and was denied unemployment benefits.

Williams appealed the Agency decision to the Board of Review. The Board found that Williams was an employee of TFY; however, it further found that TFY failed to meet its burden of proving that Williams committed an act of misconduct. It found that TFY failed to provide evidence that proved Williams participated in or knew about a theft prior to reporting his truck stolen. Instead, the Board found that Williams " simply trusted the wrong individuals," who likely committed the theft. Therefore, the Board concluded that TFY failed to prove that Williams was discharged from TFY for misconduct connected to the work and awarded unemployment benefits.

TFY appeals from the Board's decision, arguing that substantial evidence fails to support the Board's decision. We cannot reach the merits of TYF's appeal due to material deficiencies in its abstract.

The appellant shall create an abstract of the material parts of all the transcripts (stenographically reported material) in the record. Ark. S.Ct. R. 4-2(a)(5) (2013). Information in a transcript is material if the information is essential for the appellate court to confirm its jurisdiction, to understand the case, and to decide the issues on appeal. Id. In abstracting testimony, the first person (" I" ) ...


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