John Suayan, Galveston Bureau May 30, 2013, 2:37pm

HOUSTON - A Harris County man is pursuing legal action in an effort to regain complete control of a domain name and Web site administration rights from a former associate.

John Speer filed a lawsuit May 24 against Houston resident Erik Saenz in the Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas, alleging the latter is misappropriating the domain name and its associated e-mail accounts despite his resignation from Withers Energy.

Speer holds controlling interest in Withers while Saenz formerly served the company as a full-time independent contractor.

Recent court documents show Withers tabbed the defendant to be the Web site's temporary administrator when the sole authorized administrator bowed out of the responsibility because of a demanding schedule.

They further explain that Saenz did not have permanent administrative rights and was instructed to return the registration of the domain name and site administration rights, but the respondent "offered a litany of excuses as to why he could not comply with Withers Energy's instructions."

"At some point, Saenz, surreptitiously and without authority, gained administrative rights to the Google business e-mail account," the suit says.

Saenz resigned at the beginning of this year, and according to the original petition, he kept the domain and e-mail addresses to himself.

It adds Speer was unable to access his e-mails because the respondent made unauthorized changes for which he "can be held both civilly and criminally liable."

A lawsuit in response to Saenz's purported misconduct was even filed in state district court.

A jury trial is requested.

Attorney Evan A. Moeller of Hirsch & Westheimer P.C. in Houston is representing Speer.

Case No. 4:13-CV-1538

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