While working for Western Airlines in California, Arthur W. Stephenson (plaintiff) was approached by R.W. Marshall, Chairman of Alaska Airlines, Inc. (defendant) for a general manager position. At that time, Alaska Airlines was a small airline operating in the Territory of Alaska with hopes of operating to and from the United States in the future. Stephenson accepted Alaska Airlines’ oral employment offer, took a six-month leave of absence from Western Airlines, and moved his family from California to Alaska. Thereafter, Stephenson repeatedly and unsuccessfully requested a signed written employment contract from Marshall and other Alaska Airlines executives. Alaska Airlines informed Stephenson that it would not sign any contracts until it had obtained a certificate to operate to and from the United States. By this time, Stephenson’s six-month leave of absence from Western Airlines had expired and he could not return to his former position. Shortly thereafter, Alaska Airlines fired Stephenson. Stephenson filed suit against Alaska Airlines in federal district court seeking monetary damages. The district court held for Stephenson. Alaska Airlines appealed.