United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Hammond Division
OPINION AND ORDER
MAGISTRATE JUDGE JOHN E. MARTIN JUDGE
matter is before the Court on a Complaint [DE 1], filed by
Plaintiff Thomas Cobb, III on April 6, 2018, and
Plaintiff's Opening Brief [DE 20], filed September 24,
2018. Plaintiff requests that the decision of the
Administrative Law Judge be reversed and remanded for further
proceedings. On November 5, 2018, the Commissioner filed a
response. Plaintiff did not file a reply. For the foregoing
reasons, the Court affirms the Commissioner's decision.
January 22, 2008, Plaintiff filed applications for benefits
alleging that he became disabled on November 1, 2007.
Plaintiff's application was denied initially and upon
reconsideration. On July 7, 2011, Administrative Law Judge
(“ALJ”) Marlene R. Abrams issued a partially
favorable decision, finding Plaintiff disabled as of December
5, 2010. Plaintiff appealed and the Appeals Council denied
review. On January 10, 2013, the District Court remanded the
ALJ's decision pursuant to the parties' joint motion.
Two additional hearings were held, on October 15, 2013 and
May 6, 2014, with ALJ Romona Scales. On July 23, 2014, the
ALJ issued a decision finding that Plaintiff was not disabled
at any time after his alleged onset date. The Appeals Council
remanded the matter back to the ALJ on January 29, 2016. An
additional hearing was held on October 28, 2016 before ALJ
Scales, at which Plaintiff, with an attorney, an impartial
medical expert (“ME”), and a vocational expert
(“VE”) testified. On July 27, 2017, the ALJ
issued a decision again finding that Plaintiff was not
made the following findings under the required five-step
1. The claimant's date last insured is June 30, 2009.
2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful
activity since November 1, 2007, the alleged onset date.
3. Through the date last insured, the claimant had the
following severe impairments: morbid obesity, obstructive
sleep apnea (“OSA”), and degenerative disc
4. The claimant does not have an impairment or combination of
impairments that meets or medically equals the severity of
one the listed impairments in 20 CFR 404, Subpart P, Appendix
5. Through the date last insured, the claimant had the
residual functional capacity (“RFC”) to perform
sedentary work as defined in 20 C.F.R. §§
404.1567(a) and 416.967(a) except that he can only
occasionally climb ramps and stairs, balance, stoop, kneel,
and/or crouch, but he can never climb ladders, ropes, or
scaffolds or crawl. The work must not require driving as a
condition of employment, and he must avoid all exposure to
work at unprotected heights and/or around dangerous moving
machinery or on slippery/uneven wet surfaces. The claimant
must avoid concentrated exposure to extreme cold, and
pulmonary irritants such as fumes, odors, dusts, gases, and
areas of poor ventilation as well as vibration. Lastly, the
claimant may require the need to alternate between sitting
and standing, once each hour, for 10 minutes, while remaining
at the workstation and on task.
6. The claimant is unable to perform any past relevant work.
7. The claimant was 32 years old, which is defined as a
younger individual age 18-44, on the alleged disability onset
8. The claimant has a limited education and is able to
communicate in English.
9. 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, ” ...