Oher, whose life inspired the Oscar-winning film “The Blind Side,” claimed last month the Tuohy family had lied to him about being adopted
Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy say they “are ready, willing, and able” to end their conservatorship over Michael Oher, the retired NFL player whose life inspired the Oscar-winning film The Blind Side, and have asked a court to deny his request for financial relief.
Oher, 39, made headlines last month when he accused the Tuohys of lying to him about having adopted him in 2004, claiming they instead tricked him into a conservatorship that put them in control of his finances. Oher alleged the Memphis area couple made “millions” off his name since the film’s 2009 release.
The Tuohys strongly deny Oher’s allegations in a new legal filing made Thursday in the Shelby County Probate Court, saying they have “never signed any contract” on Oher’s behalf since he was legally placed under their care at 18, and that he was paid what was owed to him from his likeness being used in The Blind Side.
In the filing, obtained by PEOPLE, the Tuohys admit they have called Oher their son “in the colloquial sense and they have never intended that reference to be viewed with legal implication.”
“There was never an intent to adopt him,” the Tuohys say, denying Oher’s claim that referring to him as a family member had caused “any irreparable harm” to him.
Related: Michael Oher Then and Now: A Timeline of the NFL Star’s Life and Career
“In fact, they have always felt that the Petitioner was like a son and have used that on occasion but not in a legal sense,” they state.
Oher claimed last month that he found out this past February that he was under a conservatorship with the Tuohys and was not actually adopted. The Tuohys say in the new filing that his timeline is “demonstratively false” because Oher wrote about being in a conservatorship in his 2011 memoir, I Beat The Odds.
The Tuohys say the “sole purpose” of forming the conservatorship initially was because the family had hoped to skirt NCAA rules that might have penalized Oher for playing football at the University of Mississippi, where the Tuohys were donors.
Related: Sean Tuohy Speaks Out About ‘Blind Side’ Subject Michael Oher’s Legal Claims: ‘The Allegations Are Insulting’
The Tuohys “vehemently deny” they viewed Oher as “a gullible young man whose athletic talent could be exploited for their own benefit,” as he claimed last month in his petition to end the conservatorship.
Sean and Leigh Anne, both 63, claim they, their two children, and Oher all split proceeds from The Blind Side equally at 20% each.
“It is important to note that [Oher’s] share was paid to [the Tuohys] who paid the taxes due on these funds for some period of time but still cut a check for a full share (20%) to [Oher],” Sean and Leigh Anne’s latest filing says.
Oher did not respond to a request for comment on Thursday but directed PEOPLE to reach out to his attorneys. A representative for Oher told PEOPLE that “at this time we have no further comments.”
Oher, who released a new memoir about his life last month, has declined to comment on the ongoing legal battle when asked about it at book signings in recent weeks.
Attorneys for the Tuohy family told PEOPLE they did not have an additional comment to add to Thursday’s filing.
Related: ‘Blind Side’ Producers Defend the Film, Reveal Actual Profit Made by Tuohys and Michael Oher
In their filing, Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy deny they’ve “breached” any of their responsibilities to Oher as his conservators despite his allegations last month that they had done so by not filing an annual accounting of his finances.
Although the type of conservatorship the Tuohys filed in 2004 is typically set up to only take control of Oher’s medical decisions, the conservatorship filing states the Tuohys “should have all powers of attorney to act on his behalf and further that Oher shall not be allowed to enter into any contracts or bind himself without the direct approval of his conservators.”
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Multiple conservatorship attorneys in Tennessee told PEOPLE last month the arrangement was an uncommon one, with one attorney calling the set up “puzzling” and another saying it was “not typical” compared to how conservatorships are typically set up. Conservatorships where finances are involved typically require the conservators to make an annual accounting of the person’s finances.
The Tuohys “admit they have never filed accountings,” their filing Thursday says but claims the state never asked them to do so.
The couple asked the court to deny Oher’s request for money from the family and say they don’t believe there’s “any need for injunctive relief” to resolve the legal battle with him.
Oher is asking the court to force the Tuohys to file an accounting of his finances and for the couple to pay any earnings may be owed to him from The Blind Side, plus interest.”
I know the Tuohys are in pain but I’m sure Michael Oher is very much in pain too,” a source told PEOPLE at the time of Oher’s filing. “I don’t think this is a situation where you have bad people. There’s a lot of emotion here.”
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