United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Jacksonville Division
ORDER OF DISMISSAL WITHOUT PREJUDICE
J. DAVIS, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
a federal inmate, initiated this action by filing a pro se
Civil Rights Complaint (Doc. 1; Compl.) and a motion to
proceed as a pauper (Doc. 2). He names one Defendant, Derek
A. Pratico, in his role as a detective with the Jacksonville
Sheriff’s Office. Plaintiff asserts Detective Pratico
intentionally and knowingly gave a false statement to the
grand jury, and the false statement was used to support a
finding of probable cause for Plaintiff’s arrest.
Compl. at 3-4. Plaintiff does not explain the nature of
Detective Pratico’s false statement. Rather, he
references page and line numbers in an attached partial
transcript of Detective Pratico’s grand jury testimony
(Doc. 1-1; Tr.). Id. at 4. Detective Pratico
testified the government had identified the
“right” serial number of a gun officers recovered
after Plaintiff ran from a car during a traffic stop.
See Tr. at 6. As relief, Plaintiff seeks nominal damages
in the amount of $5, 000, 000. Compl. at 5.
Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) requires a district court
to dismiss a complaint if the court determines the action is
frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim on which
relief can be granted. See 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(B). With respect to whether a complaint
“fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted,
” the language of the PLRA mirrors the language of Rule
12(b)(6), Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, so courts apply
the same standard in both contexts. Mitchell v.
Farcass, 112 F.3d 1483, 1490 (11th Cir. 1997); see
also Alba v. Montford, 517 F.3d 1249, 1252 (11th Cir.
2008). “To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint
must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to
‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face.’” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
678 (2009) (citing Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 570 (2007)).
and conclusions” or “a formulaic recitation of
the elements of a cause of action” that amount to
“naked assertions” will not suffice. Id.
(quotations, alteration, and citation omitted). Moreover, a
complaint must “contain either direct or inferential
allegations respecting all the material elements necessary to
sustain a recovery under some viable legal theory.”
Roe v. Aware Woman Ctr. for Choice, Inc., 253 F.3d
678, 683 (11th Cir. 2001) (quotations and citations omitted).
reviewing a pro se plaintiff’s pleadings, a court must
liberally construe the plaintiff’s allegations. See
Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972);
Bingham v. Thomas, 654 F.3d 1171, 1175 (11th Cir.
2011). However, the duty of a court to construe pro se
pleadings liberally does not require the court to serve as an
attorney for the plaintiff. Freeman v. Sec’y, Dept.
of Corr., 679 Fed.Appx. 982, 982 (11th Cir. 2017)
(citing GJR Invs., Inc. v. Cty. of Escambia, 132
F.3d 1359, 1369 (11th Cir. 1998)).
Complaint is subject to dismissal under this Court’s
screening obligation because he fails to “state a claim
to relief that is plausible on its face.” See
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. The Supreme Court has held,
“a grand jury witness has absolute immunity from any
§ 1983 claim based on the witness’
testimony.” Rehberg v. Paulk, 566 U.S. 356,
369 (2012), aff’g 611 F.3d 828 (11th Cir. 2010). Accord
Jones v. Cannon, 174 F.3d 1271, 1281 (11th Cir.
1999) (“Police officers enjoy the same absolute
immunity as lay witnesses for their testimony at trial or in
front of the grand jury.”) (internal citation omitted);
Mastroianni v. Bowers, 173 F.3d 1363, 1367 (11th
Cir. 1999) (“[A] witness has absolute immunity from
civil liability based on his grand jury testimony.”).
Complaint, Plaintiff’s sole claim is that Detective
Pratico falsely testified before the grand jury. See
Compl. at 3-4. Detective Pratico enjoys absolute immunity
from a claim under § 1983 based on his grand jury
testimony, even assuming that testimony was false.
See Rehberg, 566 U.S. at 369. As such,
Plaintiff’s Complaint is subject to dismissal.
1. This case is DISMISSED without prejudice.
2. The Clerk shall enter judgment dismissing
this case without prejudice, terminate any pending motions,
and close the file.