The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable John F. Walter, United States District Judge
ATTORNEYS PRESENT FOR PLAINTIFFS:
ATTORNEYS PRESENT FOR DEFENDANTS:
PROCEEDINGS (IN CHAMBERS): ORDER REMANDING ACTION TO VENTURA COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT
On August 9, 2011, Plaintiff Mark Miller ("Plaintiff") filed a Complaint in Ventura County Superior Court. On September 8, 2011, Defendants Aurora Loan Services LLC and Aurora Bank FSB (collectively "Defendants") filed a Notice of Removal of Action to Federal Court ("Notice of Removal"). Defendants assert that federal jurisdiction exists on the basis of a federal question. See 28 U.S.C. § 1331.
Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction, having subject matter jurisdiction only over matters authorized by the Constitution and Congress. See, e.g., Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. , 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994). A suit filed in state court may be removed to federal court if the federal court would have had original jurisdiction over the suit. 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a). A removed action must be remanded to state court if the federal court lacks subject matter jurisdiction. 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c). "The burden of establishing federal jurisdiction is on the party seeking removal, and the removal statute is strictly construed against removal jurisdiction." Prize Frize, Inc. v. Matrix., 167 F.3d 1261, 1265 (9th Cir. 1999); see, also, Riggs v. Plaid Pantries, Inc., 233 F. Supp. 2d 1260, 1264 (D. Or. 2001) ("The defendant also has the burden of showing that it has complied with the procedural requirements for removal."). "Federal jurisdiction must be rejected if there is any doubt as to the right of removal in the first instance." Gaus v. Miles, Inc., 980 F.2d 564, 566 (9th Cir. 1992).
Under 28 U.S.C. § 1331, this Court has original jurisdiction over civil actions "arising under" federal law. Removal based on § 1331 is governed by the "well-pleaded complaint" rule. Caterpillar, Inc. v. Williams, 482 U.S. 386, 392 (1987). Under the rule, "federal jurisdiction exists only when a federal question is presented on the face of plaintiff's properly pleaded complaint." Id. Thus, a plaintiff is generally the "master of the claim." Id. There is no federal question jurisdiction simply because there is a federal defense to the claim. Id. The only exception to this rule is where plaintiff's federal claim has been disguised by "artful pleading," ...