Judge: Blind Side Deal Never Should Have Happened

She ends conservatorship that let Sean, Leigh Anne Tuohy control football player's finances
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 29, 2023 1:00 PM CDT
Judge Ends Conservatorship of Blind Side Player
Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy stand on a street in New Orleans on Feb. 1, 2013.   (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)

A Tennessee judge said Friday she's ending a conservatorship agreement between former NFL player Michael Oher and a Memphis couple who took him in when he was in high school, but the highly publicized dispute over financial issues will continue. Shelby County Probate Court Judge Kathleen Gomes said she's terminating the agreement reached in 2004 that allowed Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy to control Oher's finances, per the AP. Oher signed the agreement when he was 18 and living with the couple as he was being recruited by colleges as a star high-school football player. Their story is the subject of the film The Blind Side, which earned Sandra Bullock an Oscar.

Oher, now 37, has asked that the Tuohys provide a financial accounting of money that may have come to them as part of the agreement, claiming they used his name, image, and likeness to enrich themselves and lied to him that the agreement meant the Tuohys were adopting him. In Tennessee, a conservatorship removes power from a person to make decisions for themselves, and it is often used in the case of a medical condition or disability. But Oher's conservatorship was approved "despite the fact that he was over 18 years old and had no diagnosed physical or psychological disabilities," his petition said.

Gomes said she was disturbed that such an agreement was ever reached. She said she'd never seen in her 43-year career a conservatorship agreement reached with someone who wasn't disabled. "I cannot believe it got done," she said. Oher and the Tuohys listened in via a video conference call but didn't speak. Lawyers for both parties had agreed that the agreement should end, but the case will continue to address Oher's claims. Gomes said it should have ended long ago. (Read more Michael Oher stories.)

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