Judge terminates Michael Oher’s conservatorship; says she can’t believe Tuohy’s got away with it

A Tennessee judge ruled on former NFL player Michael Oher’s conservatorship but the legal case remained open as she expressed, “I cannot believe it got done.”

(Video: WREG)

The nearly 20-year-old agreement that inspired the Academy Award-nominated film “The Blind Side” came to an abrupt end Friday after Shelby County Probate Court Judge Kathleen Gomes issued a ruling in a case brought by Oher against the Tuohy family, famously portrayed by Sandra Bullock and Tim McGraw.

In August, Oher had filed a petition in court against Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy claiming that he had been led to believe he was being adopted when the conservatorship agreement was signed in 2004, an agreement he argued had allowed them to make millions off of his name, image and likeness.

“I cannot believe it got done,” Gomes said during the Friday hearing as the Tuohys and Oher each appeared via video. As WREG reported, the judge claimed to never have seen such an agreement struck for someone who was not disabled.

“I’m not saying it wasn’t done with the best of intentions, but I am telling you if someone came to me today with a similar petition, I wouldn’t have done it,” she noted.

The suit from the former player read in part, “Michael Oher discovered this lie (about adoption) 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 Tuohys.”

His own attorney stated to the press outside the courtroom, “We’re pleased with the proceedings this morning.”

As previously reported, the Tuohys had denied claims that they had significantly profited off of their arrangement along with the idea that Oher had ever been led to believe he was formally adopted into their family. Sean Tuohy had claimed, “We didn’t make any money off the movie. Well, Michael Lewis, the [author of the book on which the movie was based] gave us half of his share. Everybody in the family got an equal share, including Michael. It was about $14,000, each.”

“I will say it’s upsetting that people would think I would want to make money off any of my children,” he added as the family’s filing also contended that “There was never an intent to adopt,” Oher and that they only referred to him as their son “in the colloquial sense and they have never intended that reference to be viewed with legal implication.”

“In fact, they have always felt that the Petitioner was like a son and have used that on occasion but not in a legal sense,” the court document read.

Additionally, the producers of the film had reacted to Oher’s claims the Tuohys had taken advantage of the conservatorship and said in late August the deal “was consistent with the marketplace at that time for the fights of relatively unknown individuals.”

“Therefore, it did not include significant payouts in the event of the film’s success. As a result,” the producers said, “the notion that the Tuohys were paid millions of dollars by Alcon to the detriment of Michael Oher is false.”

In his own statement to the press Friday, Tuohy attorney Randy Fishman commented, “Everything that has been said about this is already on the record, I’ve got nothing to add at this point.”

The schedule for the next step in the case remained pending at the time of this post.

Kevin Haggerty


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