Rosa Wood had carpel tunnel syndrome and left work in 1999 because of it. After receiving short term disability benefits and undergoing back surgery, Ms. Wood applied for long term benefits. Initially, Ms. Wood’s claim for benefits was denied however her plan eventually agreed to pay benefits for the first phase of long term disability. Under the first phase, claimants are entitled to benefits for seven to twenty-nine months based on their ability to perform any substantial gainful work. Prudential then denied long-term disability benefits to Ms. Wood during the second phase which would continue benefits beyond the twenty-nine months. After two internal appeals, Ms. Wood sued Prudential in Federal Court.