Tennessee Judge Rules To Dissolve Michael Oher Conservatorship
Judge Kathleen Gomes ruled on Sept. 29 to end the 2004 conservatorship set up for former NFL player Michael Oher by the Tuohy family, all of whom were the focus of the Oscar-winning 2009 film and best-selling book, The Blind Side.
Gomes said after the ruling that she had never seen a conservatorship set up like this one for someone who is not disabled in some manner. As NPR reported, Gomes said the agreement should have been canceled years ago: “I cannot believe it got done.”
Oher filed a lawsuit against the couple who led him to believe that they had adopted him in high school, only to find out that they were allegedly cashing in on his story.
Gomes allowed that separate suit to go forward. Oher is asking for Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy to produce accounting information to show how much they have received under that agreement. Oher alleges that the couple used his name, likeness, and image to make themselves money.
At the center of the suit is the alleged misrepresentation of the agreement as a document that established their adoption of Oher. This misrepresentation caused pain for Oher, he said.
“We’re pleased with the proceedings this morning,” Oher’s lawyer, Don Barrett, told CNN.
As the Associated Press reported, Oher’s suit claimed that “despite the fact that he was over 18 years old and had no diagnosed physical or psychological disabilities,” the conservatorship was still approved by the state of Tennessee. The Tuohys’ lawyer, Martin Singer, previously claimed that Oher’s suit was a shakedown and that the couple viewed it as an attempt to extort the family.
“In reality, the Tuohy opened their home to Mr. Oher, offered him structure, support and, most of all, unconditional love,” Singer told ESPN. “They have consistently treated him like a son and one of their three children. His response was to threaten them, including saying that he would plant a negative story about them in the press unless they paid him $15 million.”
According to CNN, the Tuohys responded to Oher’s lawsuit in a court document forcefully denying Oher’s assertion that they were “enriching themselves at the expense of their Ward [Oher].”
The Tuohys also maintained that they looked at Oher as a son, saying, “they have always acted in the best interest” of the former Baltimore Ravens star. Oher’s suit explains that the Tuohys never really saw Oher as a person, but as a means to an end.
“Where other parents of Michael’s classmates saw Michael simply as a nice kid in need, Conservators Sean Tuohy and Leigh Anne Tuohy saw something else: a gullible young man whose athletic talent could be exploited for their own benefit,” court documents state.