Michael Oher, the central figure in the legal saga “The Blind Side” over his relationship with a Tennessee couple, is asking a judge to prevent the couple from profiting from his name, image and likeness, according to a motion. Go. Filed Tuesday by his legal team and obtained by Bloomberg Law.
Oher’s journey from homeless teen to first-round NFL draft pick inspired the Oscar-winning film that shows how Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy married Oher, raised him as their son and helped lead him to success. of.
“The former co-conservators have continued to abuse Mr. Ohr’s NIL and perpetuate false claims that they adopted him, even though the former co-conservators have acknowledged in court documents that they were Mr. Ohr’s adoptive parents. -Not a father and never have been.” reads the filing.
Earlier this year, Ohr rejected the family’s story in a court filing, saying the Tuohys never formally adopted her but instead placed her under guardianship in 2004. A Tennessee judge terminated the conservatorship shortly afterward, but allowed Ohr to proceed in his quest to provide the Tuohys with an explanation of how they managed his conservatorship.
This week, Ohr’s lawyers filed a motion saying that Tuohys is unfairly profiting from his name and the lie that he is their adopted son.
In fact, Leigh Anne Tuohy was scheduled to give a speech at a college in Florida this week, describing her as Ohr’s adoptive mother.
“Be inspired by Leigh Anne Tuohy, successful businesswoman, talented interior designer and adoptive mother of NFL football star Michael Oher,” said promotion for her lecture at Eastern Florida State College. “Her inspiring true story was featured in the best-selling book ‘The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game’ and its acclaimed 2009 film adaptation in which Sandra Bullock won an Oscar for her portrayal of Leigh Anne.”
Temporary injunction being sought
Oher’s court filing, made this week in the probate court of Shelby County, Tennessee, says the Tuohys have long profited from that narrative.
It seeks a temporary injunction preventing the couple from “using their name, image and likeness commercially, often with false claims that they have adopted Mr Ohr, and that they are his adoptive parents.” Are.”
Ohr, Tuesday’s filing said, you have the exclusive right to make a profit from your name, image and likeness, or zero.
“Indeed, the former co-conservators have used this void estate of their former ward to create a commercial enterprise of public speaking and Internet sales that has earned them millions of dollars, while at the same time reducing the value of Mr. Ohr’s void rights. ,” the filing said.
“Ohr has been irreparably harmed by the continued abuse of his NIL by his former co-conservators,” the motion states. “Mr. Ohr has the right to publicity, and only he has the right to control his name and likeness. Is.”
The Tuohys’ attorney, Randall Fishman, could not immediately be reached for comment Tuesday and did not return follow-up calls Wednesday. Anne Johnson, the attorney who filed the new motion with co-counsel, could not be reached for comment.
In court filings and statements to the media, the Tuohys have said that they have acted only in Ohr’s best interests. In court papers earlier this month, he said he paid out more than $138,000 in earnings from the film and a book of the same name. He says he never received any money as a patron.
Ohr’s filing also includes that the Tuohys “fraudulently misrepresented their intentions to Mr. Ohr’s natural mother” in order to obtain guardianship when he was 18.
Until then, Ohr’s formal surname was that of his father, Williams. His mother, acting on Tuhis’s orders, signed the papers to change his name to Ohr. The filing includes an affidavit from Ohr’s birth mother stating that she did not know the couple were then seeking guardianship or adoption from the court.
Dennis Ohr’s affidavit states, “I was not told that the papers I signed were for adoption or guardianship; none of this was told to me.”
Her son’s 19-year journey through guardianship took her into a system that often gets little oversight in American courts, as Bloomberg Law detailed in a series this year.
In fact, Tuohys never filed reports with the court during the years he was her guardian, and the former judge told Bloomberg Law that he did not recall any papers related to Ohr’s case being on his desk. had crossed.