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Federal judge rules CalSTRS can obtain discovery documents in Volkswagen lawsuit


A U.S. District Court judge ruled the $202.1 billion California State Teachers' Retirement System, West Sacramento, can review documents related to the Volkswagen emission cheating scandal at the car manufacturers' U.S. offices.

In a decision Monday, Judge Stanley R. Chesler in Newark, N.J., affirmed a decision by a federal magistrate judge in December that CalSTRS could conduct discovery in the U.S.

The actual lawsuit by CalSTRS and dozens of other institutional investors, including BlackRock (BLK) and Vanguard Group, is pending in Braunschweig, a German regional court.

Volkswagen had argued the documents could be inspected in Germany upon order of the court in Germany. Mr. Chesler in his decision said CalSTRS did not have enough information “for a German court to require production of the documents it seeks. Because it is not at all likely that a German court would order the documents to be produced, U.S. assistance is necessary to obtain the documents.”

Spokesmen for CalSTRS and Volkswagen were not immediately available for comment.

In January, Volkswagen paid $4.3 billion, settling criminal and civil charges brought by the U.S. Justice Department regarding the car manufacturer's use of emissions-cheating technology in its diesel vehicles.

The case brought by CalSTRS and other institutional investors is a separate action.