Ok, you may need a cup of coffee to follow this one so pay attention. According to police, Texas personal injury attorney Jeffrey Stern (left) was having an affair with Michele Cabrera Gaiser (right below) and wanted to get rid of his wife, Yvonne Stern. So Stern and Gaiser allegedly solicited Nhut Nguyen to shoot Yvonne. Yvonne was shot in the stomach on May 5, 2010 but survived and filed for divorce — citing adultery. Later, however, Yvonne reconciled with Jeffrey Stern, who is currently charged with soliciting her murder and she is now suing Gaiser in tort. Got that?
Yvonne was previously the target in an unsuccessful drive-by shooting.
Michelle Cabrera Gaiser pleaded guilty to solicitation of murder with the understanding that she would cooperate against Stern in his trial and that she would receive no more than a 25 year sentence. Another man Damian Ricardo Flores was charged in the conspiracy and was able to secure a hung jury (and will now face retrial). Nhut Nguyen was convicted of aggravated assault and sentenced to 45 years.
Jeffrey Stern is next with a solicitation of capital murder, but Yvonne is suing Gaiser. Gaiser’s attorney has alleged that, since his client has no money and is serving jail time, the lawsuit is designed to simply force the disclosure of what Gaiser will say at the trial of Yvonne’s husband. That raises an interesting question. The lawsuit may indeed be tactical. If so, it would be an unethical reason to file an action. However, it is a perfectly valid action in tort. After all, Yvonne was injured and has every right to sue. I am not sure that, absent an express statement that this is an effort to gain discovery on a criminal case, a court could pursue such an allegation. What the court can do is hold discovery until after the criminal trial which is only a few weeks away.
What is clear from the lawsuit is that Yvonne stands by her man and portrays Gaiser as living a fantasy about her husband’s desire to get rid of her. The civil complaint reads like the script of “Fatal Attraction,” portraying Gaiser as living with an “unfounded delusion” and was “[a]cting out on her fantasy.”
The defense team for Jeffrey Stern (Paul Nugent and Heather Peterson) sent the ABA Journal the following statement:
“Mrs. Stern acted independently in suing Michelle Gaiser for medical expenses and emotional distress. With only a bit more than four weeks before trial, this is by no means a ‘back door way for Jeffrey Stern’s lawyers to find out what Gaiser knows before his pending trial.’ This civil lawsuit is not part of the defense strategy. Yvonne Stern is a strong and independent woman acting to protect her family, marriage and children.”
Source: as first seen on ABA Journal