In a case that could have implications for dozens of lawsuits pending, the California Supreme Court ruled that six brothers who alleged abuse by their parish priest in the 1970s had run out of time to sue the bishop of Oakland as the priest’s employer.

The Quarry brothers, now ages 48 to 54, had filed suit in 2007, contending that Father Donald Broderson, then associate pastor of St. Joachim Parish in Hayward, had sexually abused each of them in the 1970s and that then-Bishop Floyd Begin of Oakland had known or should have known that the priest was an abuser when he assigned him to St. Joachim.

The Court said the Quarry brothers’ case did not fit the exceptions allowed by a state law that lifted the statute of limitations on abuse cases for the year 2003. The law says that those who experience abuse as children but do not become aware of the psychological harm caused by it until after age 26 have only one year after the discovery to file suit.