2013 lawsuit over domain name slated for May 2016 jury trial

John Suayan Dec. 21, 2015, 9:05am


A nearly three-year-old legal battle over a domain name and Web site administration rights is slated for a jury trial in the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division in May 2016, federal court records show.

According to a recently amended scheduling order filed three months ago, Harris County resident John Speer’s lawsuit against Eric Saenz, Stephen Payne and Chris Caudill will be heard for four days albeit the dates have not been specified.

The suit was originally headed toward a jury trial in October, but the respondents filed and were granted an unopposed motion for continuance on Sept. 21

The Southeast Texas Record reported in late May 2013 that Speer accused Saenz of misappropriating the www.unitedlng.com domain name and its associated e-mail accounts despite his resignation from Withers Energy.

Saenz, the suit stated, left in early 2013, but kept the domain and e-mail addresses to himself. A lawsuit in response to Saenz's purported misconduct was even filed in state district court.

Payne and Caudill were added to the suit as co-defendants eight months after Speer’s original petition was submitted.

Speer, meanwhile, was purportedly found guilty of fraudulent transfer and held liable for $20 million in a bankruptcy case surrounding Royce House.

The defendants in early 2014 won a partial motion for summary judgment in Speer’s case against them with the fate of the disputed domain name to be determined in the lower court. Presiding federal judge Vanessa D. Gilmore will base her ultimate move on the state court’s decision.

Attorneys Jessica B. Levy and Evan A. Moeller of the law firm Hirsch & Westheimer P.C. in Houston are representing Speer while George William Vie, III of the law firm Mills Shirley LLP in Houston serves as the lead counsel for Saenz, Payne and Caudill.

Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas Case No. 4:13-CV-1538

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