According to documents obtained by Us Weekly, NFL veteran and focus of the biographical film “The Blind Side,” Michael Oher, has claimed that during negotiations regarding the 2009 movie, never signed any contracts or agreements with the studio or producers giving them rights to his life’s story.
Oher’s newest suit alleges that the Tuohy’s used his “name, likeliness and image to benefit their own interests” without his approval.
The court documents submitted by Oher’s attorney demand that his “adoptive” parents, Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy, hand over every document detailing any receipts or accounts indicating earnings they have made on his behalf, specifically from the blockbuster film. Oher claims the Tuohy’s never showed him any documentation of earnings they received from the movie. All assurances and agreements made were done verbally.
The film, which earned Sandra Bullock an Academy Award, was adapted from Michael Lewis’ biography. Lewis mentioned that while Oher appreciated the book, he didn’t have the same sentiment for the film.
According to Lewis back in a 2010 interview with Bloomberg, “When the movie came out he [Oher] was just starting his rookie year, and I think he was hazed [about it] constantly in the trenches. So he refused to go see it, he didn’t go to any of the premiers, he didn’t come to the Oscars – he didn’t identify himself with it.”
Lewis stated that he and the Tuohy family each earned around $350,000 from the movie after deducting taxes and agent fees. Contrary to Oher’s claims, Lewis said the Tuohys planned to distribute movie royalties among all family members, Oher included. But Oher apparently turned down these royalty payments.
As a gesture of goodwill, the Tuohys deposited Oher’s portion into a trust fund for his son.
Earlier in the month, the whole controversy erupted when Oher filed a lawsuit alleging that the Tuohys never legally adopted him, but instead established a conservatorship over him. He claims he didn’t benefit financially from the movie about his life either.
In contrast, the Tuohys’ attorney, Martin Singer, states that both Oher and the family received approximately $100,000 from the film. Singer also mentioned plans to dissolve the conservatorship, referencing Oher’s confirmation that he understood the arraingment in his 2011 book.