The ongoing conservatorship battle between Michael Oher and the Tuohy family has heated back up with Sean and Leigh Anne Touhy responding to allegations made by the former Ole Miss standout through court filings.
In a response to a petition issued by Oher’s attorneys in mid-August, the Touhys deny claims that they were involved in a conspiracy to profit from the offensive lineman’s story while also purposely deceiving Oher about his adoptive status.
In Oher’s court filings, the Ole Miss standout sought to end a conservatorship he signed in 2004, which gave Sean and Leigh Anne Touhy autonomy to negotiate contracts on Oher’s behalf without his permission. Oher alleged that while members of the Tuohy family had previously claimed him as an adopted member of the family, they never legally adopted him.
The Tuohys have since looked to rebut these allegations, claiming that Oher demanded $15 million from them in a “shakedown” attempt and threatened to plant a negative story about them before taking his accusations to the Shelby County, Tenn. probate court.
Oher asserts that the four members of the Tuohy household earned nearly $225,000 plus 2.5% of “defined net proceeds” from the hit film The Blind Side, which earned over $300 million at the box office.
Though the family stated that they had shared a portion of the funds with Oher in their book, In a Heartbeat: Sharing the Power of Cheerful Giving, which was released in 2010, the former Ole Miss star disputes that claim and says he never received a dime.
Sean and Leigh Anne Toughy also maintain that Oher was well aware of the agreement he signed in 2004 and that they have never once exploited him or his story for financial gain. While Oher, on numerous occasions, referred to the Tuohys as “mom” and “dad,” and they would call him “son,” the family’s legal counsel argues that the terms were not used to suggest that the football player had been adopted by them.
“They vehemently deny that they saw the Petitioner as a gullible young man whose athletic talent could be exploited for their own benefit,” the Tuohys’ court filing, which was obtained by the Associated Press, states.
Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohys’ legal team alleges that they, in part, entered into the conservatorship with Oher because it was the safest way to have him enrolled at Ole Miss without any possible repercussions from the NCAA due to a perceived conflict of interest. Both Tuohys are graduates of the university and known boosters of the school’s athletics department.
The two are now planning to end the conservatorship with Oher as a result of the recent fallout between the two parties.
Oher spent four seasons at Ole Miss before being drafted by the Baltimore Ravens with the 23rd pick of the 2009 NFL Draft. The left tackle spent eight seasons in the NFL, playing for three different teams. He won a Super Bowl with the Ravens in 2013.