Jordan Brower (plaintiff), an outspoken critic of billboard advertising throughout Seattle, filed suit for assault against Christopher and Theodore Ackerley (defendants), two sons of the founder of a company engaged in billboard advertising in the area. Brower alleged that the defendants engaged in a lengthy campaign of making threatening and harassing telephone calls to Brower. Brower had learned that the Ackerleys’ communications company had failed to obtain proper billboard permits from the City of Seattle and had not provided the city with an accurate accounting of billboards, among other things. When the city failed to take any action against the company, Brower filed a separate suit against the city and the company, seeking enforcement of the billboard regulations. Shortly thereafter, Brower began receiving the telephone calls from the defendants, which continued for nearly 20 months. The trial court dismissed Brower’s assault complaint against the defendants. Brower appealed.