Malicious prosecution claimed when teen children are removed from home. $1.2 million. Orange County.


Couple take plaintiff father's children and then swear out a citizen's arrest against him.  Criminal charges are filed, but later dropped and plaintiff claims malicious prosecution.

The Case

  • Case Name: John William Steves v. Kenneth Jacobs, Kimberly Lemire
  • Court and Case Number: Orange County Superior Court / 30-2012-00581735
  • Date of Verdict or Judgment: Wednesday, December 11, 2013
  • Date Action was Filed: Saturday, July 07, 2012
  • Type of Case: Malicious Prosecution
  • Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. Gregory H. Lewis
  • Plaintiffs:
    John William Steves, 56, AT&T cable splicing technician
  • Defendants:
    Kenneth Jacobs, 44, owner of two shops and grocery store worker
    Kimberly Lemire, 44, worker in shops owned by Kenneth Jacobs
  • Type of Result: Jury Verdict

The Result

  • Gross Verdict or Award: $1,229,175
  • Net Verdict or Award: $1,229,175
  • Award as to each Defendant:

    Joint and Several

  • Contributory/Comparative Negligence: None
  • Economic Damages:


  • Non-Economic Damages:


  • Punitive Damages:


  • Trial or Arbitration Time: 5 days

The Attorneys

  • Attorney for the Plaintiff:
    Flyer & Flyer, A Professional Law Corporation by Raquel Flyer, Newport Beach.
    Stan A. Smith, APLC by Stan Smith, Laguna Niguel.
  • Attorney for the Defendant:
    Law Office of Andrew W. Macrae by Jeffrey N. Redd, Santa Ana. (for defendant Jacobs)
    Wenzel & Associates by Roger Ho, Santa Ana. (for defendant Lemire)

The Experts

  • Plaintiff’s Medical Experts:
    Sheryl Woodhouse, Marriage Family Therapist, Mission Viejo. (treating therapist for Mr. Steves since shortly after his wife's death.)
  • Defendant's Medical Experts:
  • Plaintiff's Technical Experts:
    Gil May, criminal defense attorney, Laguna Niguel.
  • Defendant's Technical Experts:

Facts and Background

  • Facts and Background:

    Plaintiff was arrested, prosecuted and had his two minor children removed from his sole custodial care by a separate juvenile court action.

    Plaintiff's wife Mara, had been killed by a three-time DUI drunk driver on February 13, 2011. Her death took a huge toll on Mr. Steves and his children. Defendant Lemire had been a friend of decedent, Mrs. Steves.

    On the night before the incident in question, the children ages 14 and 15, had left their home without their father's permission and had  gone to a neighbor's house; the police were called and the police returned the children to their father.

    On December 6, 2011, against plaintiff’s verbal protests, defendants removed plaintiff's children from his home, drove them away, locked them in a motor vehicle and refused to release them to their father.  When the police later arrived, defendants swore out a citizen’s arrest. Plaintiff was charged with assault, battery, aggravated assault and child abuse and endangerment. The juvenile court hearing resulted in a restraining order that prevented plaintiff from being near his children and the defendants. The restraining order lasted for 8 months, and ended after the criminal charges against plaintiff were all dismissed.


  • Plaintiff's Contentions:

    That plaintiff was prosecuted and had his two minor children removed from his sole custodial care based on the jointly malicious, officious intermeddling of defendants.  That defendants had a very close personal relationship and conspired with each other to take plaintiff’s children.

    That when the children were in defendants' car, defendants taunted plaintiff until police arrived. 

    That defendants, who were dating at the time, took it upon themselves to intervene in plaintiff's family issues and to take his children over his strong objections.

    Plaintiff pled a single cause of action for malicious prosecution.


  • Defendant's Contentions:

    That they were justified in their actions; that there was no malice.


Demands and Offers

  • Plaintiff Final Demand before Trial: Various confidential offers until June 2013.
  • Defendant Final Offer before Trial: Various confidential offers until June 2013.

Additional Notes

Defendant Jacobs had personal injury coverage through his Farmers Insurance homeowner's policy.