A Tennessee judge said Friday she is ending a conservatorship agreement between former NFL player Michael Oher and a Memphis couple who took him in when he was in high school.
Shelby County Probate Court Judge Kathleen Gomes said she is terminating the agreement reached in 2004 that allowed Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy to control Oher’s finances.
Oher signed the agreement when he was 18 and living with the couple when he was recruited by colleges as a star football player in high school.
Gomes also said she is not dismissing the case. Oher has asked the Tuohys to provide a financial accounting of the money that may have come to them as part of the deal, claiming they used his name, image and likeness to enrich themselves and lied to him that the deal meant the Tuohys adopted him. .
Gomes said she was disturbed that such an agreement was ever reached. She said that in her 43-year career, she had never seen a conservatorship agreement with someone who was not disabled.
Michael Oher played in the NFL for the Carolina Panthers, Tennessee Titans and Baltimore Ravens
Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy denied using a legal agreement between them and former NFL offensive lineman Oher to get rich by using his name and lying about their attempt to adopt him
“I can’t believe it worked,” she said.
Oher and Tuohys listened in via video conference call, but said nothing.
The former NFL star recently filed a petition in his native Tennessee to end the conservatorship that the wealthy Tuohy family initiated in 2004.
At the time, the arrangement was publicly portrayed as an adoption, and it later became the focus of a popular book and film, The Blind Side.
Oher, 37, claimed the conservatorship allowed Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy to profit from his story while he was denied film rights.
Oher reportedly had the power to end his controversial conservatorship with the Tuohy family at any time after the age of 25, according to a report from the New York Post
Mail Sport has not independently verified this information.
Tennessee attorney Timothy Street told the Post that Oher could have asked a judge to end the conservatorship “at any time,” though it remains unclear when he actually understood the arrangement he agreed to as an 18-year-old in 2004 .
Oher’s lawyers claim he only discovered the existence of the conservatorship in February, according to the documents obtained by Mail Sport last week.
However, in his 2011 memoir, “I Beat The Odds,” Oher referred to Sean and Leigh Anne as “my legal conservators.”
Meanwhile, the Tuohy family continued to portray themselves as Oher’s adoptive parents. In fact, the family’s charity website still refers to Sean as “Michael’s adoptive father.”
Regardless, Street believes Oher could have ended the conservatorship years earlier.
“If you have enough financial knowledge to sign a multi-million dollar contract with the NFL, you should also have enough financial knowledge to know whether or not you want to stay in a conservatorship,” Street said. “They don’t let you sign a contract like that when you’re drooling over yourself.”
Former Baltimore Ravens tackle Oher could reportedly end the conservatorship in 2009
Michael Oher reportedly had the power to end his controversial conservatorship in 2009
Oher’s story was chronicled in the film ‘The Blind Side’, which was released in 2009
Oher’s lawyers obviously see things differently.
“At no time did the Tuohys inform Michael that they would have ultimate control over all of his contracts, and as a result, Michael did not understand that if the Conservatorship was awarded, he was waiving his right to contract for himself,” the attorney wrote from Oher. with the complaint.
“Michael was wrongly told by the Tuohys that because he was over eighteen, the legal action to adopt Michael should be called a ‘conservatorship,’ but it was for all intents and purposes an adoption.”
Through their attorney, Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy have alleged that Oher tried to pressure them into paying him $15 million ahead of his legal filing in Tennessee last week.