On Wednesday, Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy’s attorneys held a press conference confirming their plans to end the conservatorship for Michael Oher, whose story inspired 2009’s Oscar-winning film The Blind Side.
USA Today reported Oher filed the complaint in Shelby County, Tennesee on Monday. He claimed the couple never legally adopted him. Instead, they forced him into signing a conservatorship shortly after his 18th birthday.
As Blavity reported, Oher mentioned in the suit that the Tuohy family operated as conservators to make millions from the movie, which garnered over $300 million at the box office. The 37-year-old said the couple seemingly profited from the film “that would not have existed without him.” He also stated that he received no earnings from the movie.
“The lie of Michael’s adoption is one upon which Co-Conservators Leigh Anne Tuohy and Sean Tuohy have enriched themselves at the expense of their Ward, the undersigned Michael Oher,” the petition says, according to ESPN.
“Michael Oher discovered this lie to his chagrin and embarrassment in February of 2023, when he learned that the Conservatorship to which he consented on the basis that doing so would make him a member of the Tuohy family, in fact provided him no familial relationship with the Tuohys.”
In the complaint, Oher has demanded back pay for any money the Tuohys received through the conservatorship. He also asked the court to deter the couple from using his image and likeness to further profit from the film.
The Tuohys lawyer Randall Fishman dismissed Oher’s claims that he received no earnings from the Blind Side.
“Michael got every dime, every dime he had coming,” he said, per USA Today.
According to reports, Oher could have controlled his finances if he was legally adopted by the Tuohys. However, conservatorship means one or more people manage the person’s money without them having a say in the matter.
Oher said the couple told him the conservatorship was the same process as legally adopting him. But legal experts say there were no grounds for the conservatorship to exist.
The suit states that the Tuohys and their two children received $225,000 in earnings and 2.5% of the film’s “defined net proceeds.” Previously, the couple said they only received a flat fee from the Blind Side and no profits.
Lawyer Steve Farese said the couple had maintained their own wealth before the movie existed.
“They don’t need his money,” Farese said. “They’ve never needed his money. Mr. Tuohy sold his company for $220 million.”