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Scott Greydanus v. Hageland Aviation Services

December 29, 2010

SCOTT GREYDANUS, PLAINTIFF,
v.
HAGELAND AVIATION SERVICES, INC.; AND RICHARD BASKETT, (CONSOLIDATED) DEFENDANT.
CLAYTON ACTIVE; GENE EVAN; AND GABRIEL OLICK, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
HAGELAND AVIATION SERVICES, INC., AND RICHARD BASKETT, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Ralph R. Beistline United States District Court

ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO REMAND

I. INTRODUCTION

Before the Court are Plaintiffs Scott Greydanus, Clayton Active, Gene Evan, and Gabriel Olick with a Motion to Remand at Docket 6. Plaintiffs contend that the current case should be remanded to state court "because it was not timely removed, because the field of aviation safety has not been completely preempted by Congress, and because this case does not raise a substantial federal question."*fn1 Defendants Hageland Aviation Services, Inc. ("Hageland") and Richard Baskett ("Baskett") oppose at Docket 39 and argue that Plaintiffs' claim of improper hiring, training, and supervision against Hageland "raise substantial federal questions, such that this Court can assert federal question jurisdiction."*fn2

Oral argument has been requested at Dockets 43 and 49. Inasmuch as the Court concludes the parties have submitted memoranda thoroughly discussing the law and evidence in support of their positions, it further concludes oral argument is neither necessary nor warranted with regard to the instant matter.*fn3

Because Plaintiffs' claims were not properly removed, this Court had no subject matter jurisdiction over Plaintiffs' suit at the time of removal and continues to lack such jurisdiction over the remaining claims in Plaintiffs' third amended complaint.

Therefore, Plaintiffs' Motion to Remand at Docket 6 is hereby GRANTED.*fn4

II. RULE OF DECISION

Under 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c) (1996), after a case is removed from state court, "if at any time before final judgment it appears that the district court lacks subject matter jurisdiction, the case shall be remanded." The present suit lacks complete diversity among the parties. Plaintiffs and Defendant Baskett are residents of Alaska. Defendant Hageland is an Alaskan corporation. For this Court to acquire subject matter jurisdiction over Plaintiffs' suit, the suit must arise "under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States."*fn5

III. DISCUSSION

A. Plaintiffs' Claim of Negligent Hiring, Supervision, and Training Did Not Present a Removable Claim Because Plaintiffs Did Not Raise Federal Law Allegations, Nor Did Federal Law Provide a Remedy to Plaintiffs' Negligence Claim.

Defendants assert that "[r]emoval jurisdiction is determined based on the state of the pleadings at the time of removal."*fn6 Defendants' assertion is correct. This Court must determine whether it possesses subject matter jurisdiction based on Plaintiffs' first amended complaint without reference to Plaintiffs' subsequent amended complaints.*fn7

Plaintiffs argue that the first amended complaint did not raise a substantial federal question and that under Martin v. Midwest Express Holdings, Inc., 555 F.3d 806 (9th Cir. 2009), there is no federal preemption "in the entire area of aviation safety."*fn8 Defendants counter by contending that through the artful pleading doctrine, in conjunction with federal preemption in the area of pilot qualifications, the first amended complaint presented a removable claim.*fn9

The artful pleading doctrine dictates that a plaintiff cannot avoid federal jurisdiction by "'omitting from the complaint federal law essential to his claim, or by casting in state law terms a claim that can be made only under federal law.'"*fn10 When a district court encounters an artfully-pled pleading in a removal setting, it can recharacterize such claim as a federal claim.*fn11 The Ninth Circuit has outlined the analysis a district court must undertake when determining if it has subject matter jurisdiction when dealing with potentially artfully-pled pleadings.*fn12 A district court must:

(1) examine the well-pled complaint for a federal claim on its face; (2) if no federal claim is found and the defendant has raised a serious claim of preemption, determine if the claim is preempted; and (3) if the claim is preempted, determine if a remedy is provided by federal law.*fn13 If a remedy is found, the district court has subject matter ...


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