Gregorio Juarez-Martinez (plaintiff) worked as a migrant farm worker for Donald E. Deans (defendant) on a farm owned by Deans. Juarez-Martinez and his family lived in a house provided by Deans. In July 1988, Deans entered Juarez-Martinez’s home while holding an eight-inch steel-tractor hitch, apparently angry that Juarez-Martinez was not working. Deans found Juarez-Martinez sleeping and poured beer on Juarez-Martinez’s face. A scuffle ensued, and Juarez-Martinez was badly injured after being struck repeatedly by the tractor pin. Juarez-Martinez brought an action seeking damages for assault and battery. At trial, Deans asserted the doctrine of self-defense and brought a counterclaim for assault. According to Deans, Juarez-Martinez had jumped up and grabbed Deans after Deans poured the beer on Juarez-Martinez’s face, and Deans struck Juarez-Martinez out of fear for Deans’s own safety. The trial court granted a directed verdict in favor of Juarez-Martinez on the issue of self-defense and Deans’s counterclaim for assault. Deans appealed.