Nov 29, 2023, 3:53 PM ET
Oher filed legal action in August alleging the couple deceived him out of millions of dollars in profits from his life story.
Former NFL star Michael Oher, whose supposed adoption from poverty into a wealthy white family was the subject of the hit movie “The Blind Side“, accuses the couple of making “demonstrably false” statements in the court-ordered accounting regarding the money made from their story.
In a 16-page document filed Tuesday in the Shelby County Probate Court of TennesseeOher claims that Sean y Leigh Anne Tuohy did not take into consideration $2.5 million they took from him in 2011. At the time, Oher was in his third NFL season and the Tuohys were his conservators, giving them the legal power to sign business deals in his name, and with the obligation to report his financial dealings with Oher to the court.
Michael Oher now accuses the couple of accounting inaccuracies who, he maintains, tricked him into believing they were adopting him. Preston Gannaway for ESPN
“This $2.5 million was supposedly invested by Mr. Oher, but the co-conservators took the $2.5 million without permission from this court, without notice to this court, and without the court appointing a guardian” to protect Oher’s interests, according to the document.
“The former co-conservators must be made to answer for this money,” it is requested.
The action also notes that the Tuohys’ financial accounting does not mention an unspecified sum of money that Oher deposited in a checking account shared with the Tuohys. The legal action maintains that Leigh Anne Tuohy regularly wrote checks from the account, including cash to herself, without notifying the court.
The Tuohys “should be required to fully account for every penny they spent from that account,” the document demands.
A spokesperson for the Tuohys declined to comment on the new legal action.
Overall, the Tuohys’ court-mandated accounting was “contradictory, confusing, materially false, and wholly inadequate,” Oher alleges. In their accounting, filed with the court earlier this month, the Tuohys said they paid Oher more than $138,000, about a third of what they said they made from the 2009 film.
Oher, who filed a petition in August alleging that the couple deceived him out of millions of dollars in profits from his life story, said the Tuohys’ accounting was “false on its face.”
From the beginning, the couple stated that they received nothing for the film, nor the free best-seller that preceded it. Later, they said they gave one-fifth of the film’s royalties to Oher. Later, in accounting submitted to the court, the Tuohys noted that they paid about a third of the profits to Oher.
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“These inconsistencies demonstrate the inaccuracies of the ‘Accounting’ entry, including self-payments by co-conservators and the lack of meaningful negotiation by the Sr. Oher for your [nombre, imagen y parecido]”, states Oher’s most recent legal action.
Beyond that, Oher said he was duped because the Tuohys decided on their own how they would divide the profits, reserving 80 percent of the money for themselves and their two children, and giving only 20 percent to Oher.
“‘The Blind Side‘is the story of Sr. Oher,” states the latest legal action. “Without Mr. Oher, there would be no movie. “The Tuohys had it backwards: 80 percent of the profits must have gone to the petitioner, and 20 percent to the Tuohy family, and not the other way around.”
In his document, Oher asks the court to order the Tuohys to submit a more detailed accounting regarding their business agreements with him. The action also asks the court to “sanction” the Tuohys for what it describes as “a voluntary failure to comply with obligations” both to Oher and the court.
“The Blind Side“, a film that immortalized Oher’s efforts to escape poverty and reach the NFL, earned well over $300 million at the box office. In his August petition, Oher alleges that a central element of the plot – -that the Tuohys had adopted him– was a lie perpetuated by the family to enrich themselves.
Instead of adopting him, less than three months after Oher turned 18 in 2004, the Tuohys tricked him into signing a document that made them his conservators, Oher alleges.
The Tuohys have vehemently denied that they tricked Oher out of money, even though they admitted they never legally adopted him. His attorneys have said the couple called Oher his “adopted son” in a colloquial sense.
Since Oher filed the petition, the court has ended the conservatorship and ordered financial accounting. Beyond the money generated by the film, Oher has asked that the couple pay him a fair share of the money the family has earned using his name, image and likeness. Also, she has requested unspecified damages.
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