ARKANSAS COURT OF APPEALS 


DIVISION I 
No. E07-156 


PATHFINDER INC., Opinion Delivered 4 June 2008 
APPELLANT 
APPEAL FROM THE ARKANSAS 
V. BOARD OF REVIEW 
[NO. 2007-BR-000848] 
ARTEE WILLIAMS, DIRECTOR 
DEPARTMENT OF WORKFORCE 
SERVICES and PEARLIE M. WATSON, AFFIRMED 
APPELLEES 

D.P. MARSHALL JR., Judge 

The core issue in this unemployment-benefits case is whether an employer got 
notice of a hearing at which it failed to appear. The Board of Review found that 
Pathfinder Inc. failed to show good cause for not appearing. The Board therefore 
refused to reopen the record to allow Pathfinder to present evidence about whether its 
former employee was entitled to unemployment benefits. We affirm the Board’s 
finding on notice because substantial evidence supports the Board’s decision on this 
disputed issue of fact. Tate v. Director, Department of Workforce Services, 100 Ark. App. 
394, 395, __ S.W.3d __, __ (2007). 

Pearlie Watson received a Department of Workforce Services determination 
denying her unemployment benefits because her employer, Pathfinder, discharged her 
for being absent and not properly notifying her supervisor. Pathfinder got a copy of this 
determination too. Watson challenged the denial of benefits. The Department granted 
her a telephone hearing before the Arkansas Appeal Tribunal. The Department’s file 
indicated that it mailed a hearing notice to Watson and Pathfinder. 

Pathfinder did not appear at the hearing. Watson did, and testified that she 
missed work because she had the flu. She also said that she called in and spoke with her 
supervisor each day about being sick. A fellow Pathfinder employee testified and 
corroborated Watson’s version of events. The Appeal Tribunal reversed the 
Department’s determination and awarded Watson unemployment benefits. 

Pathfinder received the Appeal Tribunal’s decision and appealed it. Pathfinder 
claimed that it never received any notice of the first hearing and was therefore unable 
to participate. The Appeal Tribunal then conducted a second hearing limited to one 
issue: whether Pathfinder had good cause for failing to appear at the previous hearing 
and was therefore entitled to have the matter reopened to present evidence. Not 
getting notice, of course, would be good cause for not appearing. The Appeal Tribunal 
found that Pathfinder failed to establish good cause for not appearing. The Board 
affirmed this decision, and Pathfinder now appeals to our court. 

We review for substantial evidence. Tate, supra. The hearing officer stated that 
the Department’s file reflected that “the Notice of [the first] Telephone Hearing was 
mailed to both parties on April 16, setting this matter for a hearing on April 26, 2007, 
at 1:45.” The record on appeal contains a copy of this notice. Because the Department 
properly addressed, stamped, and mailed the notice, the law presumes that Pathfinder 
received it. Swink & Co. v Carroll McEntee & McGinley, Inc., 266 Ark. 279, 290, 584 
S.W.2d 393, 399 (1979). When Pathfinder denied receipt, however, a question of fact 
arose. Ibid. Pathfinder’s “mere denial that a properly mailed letter was not received is 
not sufficient, as a matter of law, to rebut the presumption; it simply leaves the question 
of receipt to the [fact-finder].” 266 Ark. at 290–91, 584 S.W.2d at 399. 

The record contains substantial evidence supporting the Board’s resolution of this 
fact question against the employer. First, Pathfinder’s witness acknowledged receiving 
the Department’s determination and the original Appeal Tribunal decision—documents 
mailed before and after the hearing notice. The witness also acknowledged that the 
Department sent mail to Pathfinder’s correct mailing address. The hearing notice 
reflected that the Department sent it to the same address as the other documents. 
Further, Pathfinder presented testimony only from its Director of Compliance, not from 
the person who actually handled Pathfinder’s mail. On these facts, the Board of Review 
concluded that “it is as likely that there was an in-house problem with the hearing 
notice after the employer received it, as is the possibility that the employer did not 
receive it at all.” We affirm the Board’s answer to the fact-bound question of whether 
Pathfinder actually got the hearing notice. 

Affirmed. 

HART AND GLADWIN, JJ., agree.