Pursuer David Ross was the manager of the Theatre-Royal of Edinburgh. Defender Esther Woodman was an actress in the theatre's productions. Esther entered into an employment contract with Ross after receiving her husband's (Thomas Woodman) consent. Ross eventually fired Esther Woodman because she refused to take on certain roles in the plays and did not show up to rehearsals. Following her dismissal, Esther and Thomas Woodman brought an action against Ross before the sheriff of Edinburgh, seeking a weekly salary for the term of Esther's employment contract. Ross maintained that Esther was justly and properly dismissed based on her improper conduct, and that she was not entitled to her weekly salary under the employment contract.

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