Michael Oher, who had his life story told in the movie “The Blind Side”, is suing his adoptive parents, The Tuohys, over issues related to the movie and the adoption. Court documents allege that he has been cheated out of millions in royalties from the film and that the Tuohys currently have him under a conservatorship at age 37. To understand the nature of the lawsuit, it is important to have the context of the movie.
“The Blind Side” is a 2009 movie based on Michael Oher’s life. The film depicts him as a troubled, dim-witted youth who had no direction or positive influence in his life. Enter the “adoptive” white family, the Tuohys. Michael Oher befriends one of the Tuohy’s sons through high school football. He eventually begins spending time with the family and they wind up taking him in. The family eventually gets him into private school, then college, then he makes it to the NFL. It is a great story about the humanity of people and how, sometimes, a helping hand is all that it takes for a person to succeed. The problem with the movie, that Michael Oher has long stated, is that it was inaccurate and outright lied at times.
Michael Oher’s “adoptive” father, Sean Tuohy, was (or is) a booster at Ole Miss. Michael Oher wound up attending the same school. Before Michael was admitted, the NCAA had a conversation with Sean Tuohy. They said in order for Michael to be admitted, he would need to appear to be “part” of the Tuohy family. The Tuohys discussed this with Michael and presented paperwork before him to make this happen. He was age 18 at the time. Michael assumed that this was adoption paperwork but, in reality, he signed a petition to make the Tuohys his conservators, under which he remains today at age 37. This legal status granted the Tuohys the ability to make legal decisions on behalf of Michael, including signing contracts.
Fast forward to 2023, Michael Oher has petitioned a court in Tennessee to get a full accounting of the monies from “The Blind Side” and a release from the conservatorship. Sean Tuohy says that if Michael wanted off the conservatorship, he would have done it. He also said that they (the family) did not make money off of the film. They only received $14,000 each (including Michael) from the book sales. Sean Tuohy sold a chain of Taco Bell restaurants for $200 million, so he says he does not need the money. However, Michael Oher’s lawyers say that there was at least one contract signed for $225,000 and 2.5% of royalties from the movie that Michael was not privy to.
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