United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Hammond Division
RHONDA R. TUTTLE, Plaintiff,
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Deputy Commissioner for Operations, Social Security Administration, Defendant.
OPINION AND ORDER
E. MARTIN MAGISTRATE JUDGE
matter is before the Court on a Complaint [DE 1], filed by
Plaintiff Rhonda R. Tuttle on March 27, 2017, and
Plaintiff's Brief in Support of Reversing the Decision of
the Commissioner of Social Security [DE 15], filed by
Plaintiff on November 17, 2017. Plaintiff requests that the
decision of the Administrative Law Judge be reversed and
remanded for benefits or further proceedings. On December 28,
2017, the Commissioner filed a response, and on January 16,
2018, Plaintiff filed a reply.
October 28, 2013, Plaintiff filed an application for benefits
alleging that she became disabled on June 1, 2013.
Plaintiff's application was denied initially and upon
reconsideration. On July 14, 2015, Administrative Law Judge
(“ALJ”) Kimberly S. Cromer held a video hearing
at which Plaintiff, with an attorney representative, a
vocational expert, and a medical expert testified. On July
31, 2015, the ALJ issued a decision finding that Plaintiff
was not disabled.
made the following findings under the required five-step
1. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful
activity since October 28, 2013, the application date.
2. The claimant has the severe impairments of depression,
anxiety, a cognitive impairment, low back pain, neuropathy,
diabetes mellitus, bronchial asthma, sleep apnea, morbid
obesity, a left calcaneal spur, avascular necrosis of the
talar bone, and tendon synovitis.
3. The claimant does not have an impairment or combination of
impairments that meets or medically equals the severity of
one of the listed impairments in 20 CFR 404, Subpart P,
4. The claimant has the residual functional capacity
(“RFC”) to perform sedentary work as defined in
20 CFR 416.967(a) except she can no more than occasionally
operate foot controls bilaterally. She can never climb
ladders, ropes, scaffolds, crawl, or kneel. She can no more
than occasionally climb ramps and stairs, balance, stoop, and
crouch. There is no strong medical evidence in the record to
warrant hand limitations. She can do no work at unprotected
heights and she needs to avoid work hazards. She must avoid
concentrated exposure to pulmonary irritants, extreme
humidity, and extreme cold. She is limited to simple routine
work involving only occasional decision making and only
occasional changes in the work setting. Instructions should
be given verbally and by demonstration rather than in complex
written form. She can do no work in a fast-paced assembly
line environment, and she is precluded from jobs involving
5. The claimant is unable to perform any past relevant work.
6. The claimant was 36 years old, defined as a younger
individual age 18-49, on the date the application was filed.
7. The claimant has a limited education and is able to
communicate in English.
8. Transferability of job skills is not material to the
determination of disability because using the
Medical-Vocational Rules as a framework supports a finding
that the claimant is “not disabled, ” whether or
not the claimant has transferrable job skills.
9. Considering the claimant's age, education, work
experience, and residual functional capacity, there are jobs
that exist in significant numbers in the national ...