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‘Odd Lot’ Thrown Out in Thomas v. Board of Education

Inability to speak English;
Low intelligence;
Lack of formal education;
Low job skill transferability;
Lack of training.

‘Odd Lot’ claims have one other prerequisite: before the ‘Odd Lot’ doctrine can be triggered, the claimant’s disability relative to the work accident must be at least 75% of total. That is to say, the physical disability must be significantly (and nearly totally) disabling by itself. This reduces the opportunity for fraud and abuse by litigants who would “trump up” their alleged ‘personal handicaps.’ Also, in a state with a large illiterate/non-English-speaking worker population (New Jersey released ‘official’ state figures last week admitting to at least 500,000 undocumented foreign nationals living and working in New Jersey) the potential for abuse of the ‘Odd Lot’ provision is present.

In a March 4, 2009 decision, the Appellate Court found that the petitioner in Thomas v. Newark Board of Education had no grounds to appeal based on the Judge’s refusal to apply the ‘Odd Lot’ doctrine and find him totally disabled. In Thomas, the claimant alleged that all of his prior work experience was in heavy manual labor jobs and that he lacked job skills.

The Comp Judge refused to listen to that argument, and found the claimant only 22.5% disabled, and so the ‘Odd Lot’ doctrine was not applied.

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