Michael Oher‘s ongoing legal battle over claims the Tuohys made a ton of money from the use of his name, image, and likeness without his consent has escalated. Oher’s attorneys filed subpoenas against producers of The Blind Side, among others, in the former NFL star’s quest to gain access to communication between the production company and the Tuohys.
In new court documents filed Tuesday in Shelby County, Tennessee, Oher’s legal team is requesting that Alcon Entertainment — the production company behind the 2009 Sandra Bullock-led film centered around Oher’s rags to riches story — hand over “all documents and communications” of payments to Leigh Anne Tuohy, Sean Tuohy and the rest of their family in relation to Oher. The former Ole Miss and Baltimore Ravens/Carolina Panthers standout also wants all documents and communication on their contractural agreements regarding the film, and receipts for payments regarding books Leigh Ann and Sean have written. They wrote In a Heartbeat: Sharing the Power of Cheerful Giving together, and Leigh Ann authored Turn Around: Reach Out, Give Back, and Get Moving.
Oher’s attorneys also subpoenaed the Hollywood powerhouse agency that represents the Tuohys, Creative Artists Agency (CAA), and the Memphis Shelby County Schools. From the talent agency, Oher’s lawyers want CAA to hand over records relating to “contracts and contract negotiations, contract amendments, agreements, accountancy, financial records, payments made, and notices concerning The Blind Side movie or book and/or payments made to the Tuohy Family for any reason.”
From the Memphis Shelby County Schools, Oher’s legal team is requesting documents received by the Tuohys as well as any documents related to Oher and his time in the school system. He attended Briarcrest Christian School in Eads, Tennessee. Oher’s legal team has set a Sept. 15 deadline.
The request comes just days after Broderick Johnson and Andrew Kosove, co-founders and co-CEOs of Alcon Entertainment, issued a lengthy statement, which explained the specifics of the financial deal.
“The film rights to Michael Lewis’s book, and the associated rights contracts were negotiated by Twentieth Century Fox and inherited by Alcon when the film was put in turnaround. It is important to note that in 2006, the nature of life rights deals for books, documentaries and film, as well as the limitations of what college athletes were able to do and maintain eligibility, were very different than they are today. Comparing them to today’s marketplace for those rights is akin to comparing a basketball Hall of Famer’s deal from 25 years ago to the nine-figure deals that are prevalent in today’s NBA. The deal that was made by Fox for the Tuohys’ and Michael Oher’s life rights was consistent with the marketplace at that time for the rights of relatively unknown individuals. Therefore, it did not include significant payouts in the event of the film’s success,” the statement read.
“As a result, the notion that the Tuohys were paid millions of dollars by Alcon to the detriment of Michael Oher is false,” the statement continued. “In fact, Alcon has paid approximately $767,000 to the talent agency that represents the Tuohy family and Michael Oher (who, presumably, took commission before passing it through). We anticipate that the Tuohy family and Michael Oher will receive additional profits as audiences continue to enjoy this true story in the years to come. In addition to these contractual payments, Alcon made a charitable contribution to the Tuohy family foundation. We offered to donate an equal amount to a charity of Mr. Oher’s choosing, which he declined.”
The Tuohy family attorney, Randall Fishman, insisted at a news conference in Memphis, Tennessee that the entire family — including Oher — was paid approximately $100,000 each after it was all said and done.
The subpoenas also come a week after Oher filed a request to the courts for 19 years worth of accounting from the Tuohy family, claiming that Leigh Anne and Sean used him for their business and marketing ventures.
Oher’s legal battle commenced earlier this month when he claimed that the Tuohys tricked him into making them his conservators less than three months after he turned 18 in 2004. He alleged they told him there was no consequential difference between being adopted and entering into a conservatorship, giving them legal authority to make business deals in his name.
Oher claimed he only learned in February that the documents he was asked to sign by the Tuohys, under the belief that it was part of the “adoption process,” were actually conservatorship papers that would strip away his legal rights, the petition says.
The 37-year-old also filed a motion alleging he hasn’t seen any money for the past 19 years from the use of his name, image, and likeness, and “never permitted [the Tuohys] to use his name, likeness, and image in any way.”