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Cal. Supreme Court: Oakland Clergy Abuse Claim Time-Barred

By Robyn Hagan Cain on March 30, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

The California Supreme Court dismissed the Quarry v. Doe Oakland clergy abuse case on Thursday, ruling that the statute of limitations barred the plaintiffs from bringing the case, reports the Mercury News.

The issue in the case was how the Supreme Court should interpret California Civil Code section 340.1, which states that an action for recovery of damages suffered as a result of childhood sexual abuse must be commenced within three years of discovering that injury occurred as the result of the abuse, or within eight years after the plaintiff attains the age of majority, whichever is later.

In 2003, the law was amended to allow for a one-year window during which victims could bring otherwise-time-barred claims, but that window closed before the Quarry plaintiffs filed their claim.

The plaintiffs argued that they should be allowed to bring their claim because they filed it within three years of discovering that they were psychologically damaged by the alleged abuse. The Church, however, countered that the claim was time-barred because the brothers were well over the age of 26 when they filed their lawsuit.

This week, the court sided with the Church in a 5-2 decision. Writing for the majority, Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye said, "Although we are unreservedly sympathetic to the plight of persons who were subjected to childhood sexual abuse, we note that the preexisting limitations period, along with the one-year revival period ... afforded victims a very considerable time following the abuse in which to come to maturity, or even middle age, and discover the claim," reports The Associated Press.

The ruling will affect at least eight other clergy abuse claims that were on hold while the court considered Quarry, according to the AP.

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