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Tennessee judge rules in favour of Ja Morant in assault lawsuit

Posted : 09 April 2024

In a significant legal victory for Ja Morant, a Tennessee judge ruled on Monday that the Memphis Grizzlies' star was justified in his actions when he punched a teenager at his home in July 2022, as per court documents obtained by ESPN. This ruling follows a civil immunity hearing held in December 2023 in Memphis, during which Morant testified that he punched Joshua Holloway, then 17, in self-defense amidst an altercation that led to Holloway filing a lawsuit accusing Morant of assault.


The altercation stemmed from a pickup basketball game, where Holloway, reportedly frustrated by losses, allegedly threw a pass at Morant during a check-ball situation. Morant stated that after being hit by the ball, Holloway advanced towards him, prompting Morant to punch him in self-defense. Subsequently, Morant's friend, Davonte Pack, also punched Holloway, resulting in Pack's arrest for misdemeanor assault, which was later dismissed.


In Monday's ruling, Shelby County Circuit Judge Carol Chumney declared that Morant is entitled to civil immunity under Tennessee's self-defense statute, shifting the burden of proof onto Holloway and his legal team to disprove Morant's self-defense claim. Although a trial was initially set for late April, it's expected to be postponed to a later date.


The lawsuit and its legal proceedings have cast a shadow over Morant's career, particularly during the tumultuous 2023-24 NBA season. Following a 25-game suspension imposed by the NBA for conduct deemed detrimental to the league, including an incident where Morant was seen brandishing a firearm in a social media video, Morant's on-court presence was further hindered by a season-ending shoulder injury. Despite his standout performances prior to the injury, Morant's absence contributed to the Grizzlies' disappointing season, marked by injuries to key players and a decline in their standings within the Western Conference.


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