In March 1900, Alaska Packers’ Association (APA) (defendants) contracted with a group of sailors (plaintiffs) to sail between San Francisco and Alaska, and en route perform regular duties as well as other duties requested by the captain or agents of APA. APA agreed to pay each sailor $50 for the season and two cents per salmon they assisted in catching. The following month, APA entered similar contracts with another group of sailors (plaintiffs), who would perform similar work and receive $60 for the season and two cents per salmon. After arriving in Alaska, the sailors stopped working and demanded $100 for the season in order to resume their work. Being unable to hire replacement sailors, an APA representative in Alaska signed a new contract agreeing to the higher pay. However, the APA representative told the sailors that he did not have the authority to alter their original contracts with APA. When the sailors returned to San Francisco, APA paid the sailors only their original contract price of $50 or $60. The sailors sued APA in admiralty to recover the full amount payable under the new agreement, alleging they had demanded the new contract price because APA had provided them faulty fishing nets. This fact was heavily contested, and the trial court determined that APA had not provided faulty fishing nets to the sailors. The trial court otherwise entered judgment in the sailors' favor, and APA appealed.