West v. Stanley: A case of Goliath tackling David?

I was wondering last weekend why I couldn’t access Justia.com, the Web site of FindLaw cofounder Tim Stanley. Turns out, LLRX.com has the answer. In a fascinating article, West Publishing Fires and Sues FindLaw Co-Founder Tim Stanley, lawyer and writer T.R. Halvorson documents the strange tale of the falling out between West and Stanley following the legal publishing giant’s purchase of FindLaw in 2001. It is hard to feel sorry for Stanley — Halvorson reports that West paid Stanley $2.8 million for his shares of FindLaw plus an annual salary of $200,000 not including incentives. Nevertheless, the article quotes West as claiming that Stanley’s Justia Web site was “for all intents and purposes FindLaw II.” Come on. Was Stanley’s stab at setting up a search-engine optimization business really a competitive threat to FindLaw or West? Whatever the answer, the article is a must read.