A Tennessee judge announced on Wednesday that she will not make an immediate decision regarding the argument put forth by Ja Morant’s legal team. They claim that he is immune from being sued by a teenager he punched during a pickup game in 2022.
Shelby County Circuit Court Judge Carol Chumney expressed the need for additional time in light of the scarcity of case precedent related to the lawsuit, as reported by The Commercial Appeal.
Chumney expressed that there was a sense of anticipation among everyone, as they were hoping for a significant decision or some sort of resolution. He emphasized the importance of these legal matters.
Wednesday’s court session continued a hearing that initially commenced on December 11. The focus of the hearing was Morant’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit based on Tennessee’s ground law. Morant’s legal team contends that he is protected from liability under this law, which grants individuals the right to use force in certain situations if they feel threatened at their own homes. While this law is typically applied in criminal cases, Chumney’s ruling last month enabled Morant’s lawyers to invoke it in the civil case as well.
Joshua Holloway has filed a lawsuit against Morant, alleging that the Memphis Grizzlies All-Star guard assaulted him by punching him during a pickup game at Morant’s parents’ home on July 26, 2022. Holloway, who was 17 at the time, had been invited to play on the Morant family’s private court. Now 18, Holloway is a player for Samford University.
According to Morant, he was forced to defend himself when Holloway aggressively hurled the basketball at him with a powerful one-handed pass, resembling a baseball throw, which struck him in the face during a check-ball scenario. In pickup games, a “check” is a customary practice where two players from opposing teams pass the ball back and forth, ensuring that their teammates are prepared, usually before commencing a game or following a foul.
In addition, Morant faced a 25-game suspension from the NBA this season due to a video that surfaced online, showing him brandishing a handgun. The footage captures Morant seated in the passenger seat of a car, and it was posted following his completion of an eight-game suspension in March. This earlier suspension was a result of another video where he exhibited a handgun at a strip club in the Denver area.
Ja Morant issued apologies for both videos and made his return to the court on Tuesday with an impressive season debut, scoring a remarkable 34 points.
Ja Morant’s father, Tee Morant, has been hosting young local basketball players and Ja Morant’s friends for years to play on their full-sized home court. After the pickup games, Morant’s parents prepare a meal for the players.
Holloway had received multiple invitations to play and had developed a warm relationship with the Morants. According to Ja Morant’s testimony, the teenager consistently displayed good behavior and treated him and his family with utmost respect during previous visits.
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