Tuohy family responds to Michael Oher lawsuit, calls petition ‘ludicrous’

Michael Oher, a tackle from Mississippi, is selected as the No. 26th overall pick by the...
Michael Oher, a tackle from Mississippi, is selected as the No. 26th overall pick by the Baltimore Ravens during the first round of the NFL football draft at Radio City Music Hall Saturday, April 25, 2009, in New York. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)(Jason DeCrow | ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Published: Aug. 15, 2023 at 5:22 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC/Gray News) - Sean and Leigh Anne Touhy and their family released a statement Tuesday responding to a lawsuit filed by Michael Oher, calling the petition “ludicrous.”

Oher alleges the Tuohys failed “to meet their required duties to provide regular accountings or to act in the best interest of their ward, Michael J. Oher, and for applicable damages and other relief.”

Oher is seeking to end his conservatorship from the Tuohys. Oher filed the petition in Shelby County on Monday.

Marty Singer, the attorney for Sean and Leigh Anne Touhy, issued the statement Tuesday:

“Anyone with a modicum of common sense can see that the outlandish claims made by Michael Oher about the Tuohy family are hurtful and absurd. The idea that the Tuohys have ever sought to profit off Mr. Oher is not only offensive, it is transparently ridiculous. Through hard work and good fortune, Sean and Leigh Anne have made an extraordinary amount of money in the restaurant business. The notion that a couple worth hundreds of millions of dollars would connive to withhold a few thousand dollars in profit participation payments from anyone – let alone from someone they loved as a son – defies belief.

In reality, the Tuohys opened their home to Mr. Oher, offered him structure, support and, most of all, unconditional love. 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.

When Michael Lewis, a friend of Sean’s since childhood, was approached about turning his book on Mr. Oher and the Tuohys into a movie about their family, his agents negotiated a deal where they received a small advance from the production company and a tiny percentage of net profits. They insisted that any money received be divided equally. And they have made good on that pledge.

The evidence – documented in profit participation checks and studio accounting statements – is clear: over the years, the Tuohys have given Mr. Oher an equal cut of every penny received from The Blind Side. Even recently, when Mr. Oher started to threaten them about what he would do unless they paid him an eight-figure windfall, and, as part of that shakedown effort refused to cash the small profit checks from the Tuohys, they still deposited Mr. Oher’s equal share into a trust account they set up for his son.

Additionally, in spite of the false allegation in the lawsuit, the Tuohys have always been upfront about how a conservatorship (from which not one penny was received) was established to assist with Mr. Oher’s needs, ranging from getting him health insurance and obtaining a driver’s license to helping with college admissions. Should Mr. Oher wish to terminate the conservatorship, either now or at anytime in the future, the Tuohys will never oppose it in any way.

Unbeknownst to the public, Mr. Oher has actually attempted to run this play several times before – but it seems that numerous other lawyers stopped representing him once they saw the evidence and learned the truth. Sadly, Mr. Oher has finally found a willing enabler and filed this ludicrous lawsuit as a cynical attempt to drum up attention in the middle of his latest book tour.

The Tuohys will always care deeply for Mr. Oher. They are heartbroken over these events. They desperately hope that he comes to regret his recent decisions, makes different choices in the future and that they someday can be reconciled with him. In the meantime, however, they will not hesitate to defend their good names, stand up to this shakedown and defeat this offensive lawsuit.”

The story of Oher and the Tuohys was made famous by the 2009 film “The Blind Side,” which portrays Oher’s journey growing up in Memphis, being raised by the Tuohys and starring as an offensive lineman for Ole Miss before making his way to the NFL.

Oher says the Tuohys have falsely claimed Oher as their adopted son in the years since to their benefit.

Oher also claims he learned in February 2023 that the conservatorship did not qualify him as a member of the Tuohy family.

Oher says a document was signed in 2007 that signed away, with no payment, his unconditional and exclusive right to his name, likeness and more to Fox, which distributed “The Blind Side.” However, Oher claims he never willingly or knowingly signed this document.