Kristin Smart’s parents sued Flores family over daughter’s murder. Where do lawsuits stand?

Lawsuits filed by Kristin Smart’s parents against the family of the man convicted of killing her are headed toward settlement, attorneys said Monday.

A jury convicted Paul Flores of Smart’s murder in October — 27 years after the Cal Poly student vanished following an off-campus party. A separate jury acquitted his father, Ruben Flores, of helping his son conceal the crime.

During that 27-year period, five lawsuits were filed between the Smart family and the Flores family.

A stay, or, pause of legal proceedings, was put on the lawsuits pending the criminal investigation and court proceedings in 2017.

San Luis Obispo Superior Court Judge Rita Federman ruled Monday that the stay can remain in place since all lawyers involved in the cases agreed they are near a resolution.

James Murphy, the Smarts’ lawyer, told Federman that there had been some “developments” in the case and offers have been made to resolve the 2002 wrongful death case against Paul Flores and 2021 wrongful death case against Ruben Flores since Paul Flores’ conviction.

He and Harold Mesick, Ruben Flores’ attorney, both agreed they plan to have the cases “resolved” and settled within 60 days. Mesick was also appearing on behalf of Susan Flores’ lawyer, Jeffry Radding.

Flores is currently serving a sentence of 25 years to life in state prison.

Timeline of Kristin Smart lawsuits

Stan and Denise Smart, Kristin’s parents, first filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Paul Flores in 2002, court documents show. They alleged Flores murdered their daughter and hid her remains, causing severe emotional distress.

The allegation of murder was later proven in criminal court in October.

Then, in April 2005, Dennis Mahon sued Susan Flores and her boyfriend, Mike McConville, for emotional distress after he suffered “severe emotional distress” in jail for two days after violating a restraining order.

Mahon’s website, Dig Up The Yard, houses his theory that Smart’s body is or was buried in Susan Flores’ Arroyo Grande home.

McConville filed a restraining order against Mahon as he was “investigating leads” in the Smart case earlier that year.

In the lawsuit, Mahon alleges McConville showed up to an Arroyo Grande City Council meeting knowing Mahon would be there in order to have Mahon arrested for violating the restraining order.

McConville and Susan Flores then counter-sued Mahon for harassment and stalking in October 2005, alleging Mahon’s “investigative efforts” caused emotional distress to McConville and the Flores family.

McConville alleges Mahon was acting as an “employee” of Stan and Denise Smart, and added the two to the counter-suit for negligent hiring, stalking and emotional distress.

The Smarts’ insurance company, California Casualty Insurance Company, then sued Stan and Denise Smart, Susan Flores and McConville, asking the judge to define the company’s rights, duties and obligations are under its policy as liability insurance.

Smarts’ parents then filed a second wrongful death lawsuit against Ruben Flores in April 2021 for emotional distress. They allege Flores moved their daughter’s body in Feb. 2020 following an FBI search — the theory Paul Flores was convicted on, but Ruben Flores was acquitted on.

Lawyers involved in the Mahon, McConville and insurance cases said the way they move forward will depend on how the two wrongful death suits resolve.

The next hearing in the cases is scheduled for Dec. 13. Settlements in the two wrongful death lawsuits are expected at that time.