Cal Poly Faces Lawsuit Over Handling of Kristin Smart Case: Family Seeks Justice and Accountability

San Luis Obispo, California – The family of Kristin Smart has filed a lawsuit against California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly) for wrongful death, negligence, and negligent infliction of emotional distress. The lawsuit alleges that Cal Poly failed to fulfill its legal obligations in the case of Smart’s disappearance and murder in 1996. Smart was last seen alive after attending a frat party at Cal Poly, and her body has never been found.

Paul Flores, who had escorted Smart back to her dorm room after she was found passed out on a lawn outside the party, was found guilty of her murder in 2022. The Smart family’s lawsuit specifically accuses Cal Poly of failing to promptly pursue a missing person case, timely interview witnesses, seal Flores’ dorm room as a crime scene, and search the room until sixteen days after Smart disappeared.

Furthermore, the lawsuit claims that Cal Poly did not properly address multiple reports of threatening, stalking, and harassing behavior by Flores. These reports date back to December 1995, when a female student filed a police report stating that Flores had been harassing her. In March 1996, three female students also filed police reports describing harassment and stalking by Flores. In addition, Flores had vandalized Cal Poly grounds and property while intoxicated, prompting a “Mediation/Information Meeting” with a campus coordinator to discuss his behavior.

The Smart family argues that if Cal Poly had taken appropriate action based on these reports, Flores would not have been on campus to commit the murder of Kristin Smart and potentially assault other women in the years that followed. The family claims that they were not aware of Cal Poly’s failures until May 2023 when the university’s president publicly apologized to them.

The lawsuit seeks financial damages, as well as attorney and court costs, and the Smart family has requested a jury trial. Cal Poly has not yet responded to the lawsuit.

The tragic case of Kristin Smart’s disappearance and murder has haunted her family for nearly three decades. Now, they are holding Cal Poly accountable for what they perceive as negligence in handling the case and dealing with Paul Flores. As the legal battle unfolds, it remains to be seen how Cal Poly will defend itself against these allegations and what impact this lawsuit may have on campus safety procedures in the future.