Cole v. Colvin, No. 15-3883 (7th Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
In 2000, while working as a welder, Cole (then in his 20s) broke his left arm and wrist, requiring insertion of a metal plate and screws in his arm. He experienced pain that has still not gone away. In 2008, employed as a factory foreman, he fell off a 10‐foot ladder, landing on his right elbow. He received physical and occupational therapy, but the pain has persisted. An orthopedic surgeon diagnosed cubital tunnel syndrome and performed an anterior ulnar nerve transposition. Cole’s pain increased. Another orthopedic surgeon diagnosed posterolateral rotatory instability and replaced the ligament in Cole’s elbow with a graft from Cole’s arm. Cole’s pain became constant. Another orthopedic surgeon noted his “chronic pain” but said that Cole could return to work “without restrictions.” Cole settled his worker’s compensation claim and obtained unemployment benefits. When they ran out, Cole unsuccessfully applied for social security disability benefits. The Seventh Circuit reversed, stating that the ALJ “appears to have thought Cole a malingerer,” and “cherry-picked” the medical record.