MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
TOM S. LEE, District Judge.
Plaintiff May Frances Bridges, an employee of defendant Jackson State University (JSU), filed the present action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that in retaliation for her complaints of sex discrimination, defendants JSU and Drs. Walter Brown and Daniel Watkins, Dean of the College of Education and Human Development and Executive Director of the Executive Ph.D. Program, respectively, violated her First Amendment rights by demoting her from Assistant Director of the Executive Ph.D. Program to Enrollment and Recruitment Manager. Defendants have moved to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) contending that (1) plaintiff's claims against JSU and its official-capacity employees are barred by the Eleventh Amendment; (2) plaintiff cannot state a claim for First Amendment retaliation because she cannot establish an adverse employment action; and (3) the individual defendants are entitled to qualified immunity.
Plaintiff has filed a response to the motion. Therein she offers no opposition to defendants' argument for dismissal of JSU and the official-capacity claims against Drs. Brown and Watkins on Eleventh Amendment immunity grounds; and, since defendants' position as to their Eleventh Amendment immunity is clearly meritorious, the court will grant the motion to dismiss as to the claims against JSU and against Drs. Brown and Watkins in their official capacities.
Defendants contend they are entitled to dismissal of the remaining individual-capacity claims against Drs. Brown and Watkins since plaintiff has failed to allege an actionable claim for First Amendment retaliation.
"To survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, a complaint `does not need detailed factual allegations,' but must provide the plaintiff's grounds for entitlement to relief-including factual allegations that when assumed to be true `raise a right to relief above the speculative level.'"
In the case at bar, defendants note that in order to state a claim for retaliation in violation of the First Amendment, plaintiff must allege facts which demonstrate that she suffered an "adverse employment action."
In response to defendants' motion, plaintiff acknowledges that she stated in her EEOC charge of discrimination that her wage, work hours and duties remained the same after her job title changed. However, she offers as exhibits the job descriptions for the positions of Assistant Director of the Executive Ph.D. Program and Enrollment and Recruitment Manager and, pointing to various differences in the job descriptions for the two positions, she argues that these job descriptions both "belie the statement [she] made in her EEOC charge" and tend to show that the position of Enrollment and Recruitment Manager is objectively worse than her former position. She argues that in view of this evidence, the court should find that she has sufficiently alleged a First Amendment retaliation claim. However, she also states that if the court finds she has failed to sufficiently allege a First Amendment retaliation claim, it should "allow [her] to amend her complaint to sufficiently plead a First Amendment retaliation claim."
For their part, defendants argue in rebuttal that unless the court were to convert the present Rule 12(b)(6) motion to a summary judgment motion — which they contend should not be done — then the court may not properly consider the extraneous evidence offered by plaintiff. They argue, though, that even if the court were to treat this as a summary judgment motion and consider the job descriptions offered by plaintiff, the court still ought to dismiss the complaint since plaintiff has neither alleged nor attempted to prove that the position of Enrollment and Recruitment Manager at JSU was objectively worse or less desirable than the position of Assistant Director of the Executive Ph.D. Program. In this vein, they note that the job descriptions offered by plaintiff include the following caveat:
Thus, according to defendants, the job descriptions themselves do not establish, or tend to establish, that the duties of plaintiff's current position are any different, much less objectively worse or less desirable than those of her former position.
In the court's opinion, particularly in light of her prior sworn statement that her pay, hours and job duties "remained the same" after her job title changed, plaintiff's allegation that her new position is "less prestigious" or should be viewed as a demotion may fairly be characterized as conclusory. Moreover, as defendants note, the job descriptions, even if properly before the court, would not aid plaintiff's position, since there is nothing in them to indicate that the job, as performed by plaintiff or as JSU required it to be performed, entailed any lesser, or less important job duties or responsibilities than plaintiff's former position. The court thus concludes that plaintiff has not stated a cognizable claim. The court recognizes, however, that plaintiff has asked for the opportunity to amend to sufficiently state a claim. It is not apparent to the court that plaintiff can state a viable claim, even if allowed to amend; plaintiff has not identified the substance of any potential amendment. Thus, the court is not inclined to hold at this time that she should be allowed to amend. What the court will do, however, is hold the present motion in abeyance so as to give her the opportunity to file a motion to amend, along with a proposed amended complaint. Such motion should address the alleged deficiencies noted in defendants' motion.
Based on the foregoing, it is ordered that defendants' motion to dismiss is granted as to the claims against JSU and against Drs. Watkins and Brown in their official capacities. It is further ordered that plaintiff shall have until February 23, 2017 to file a motion to amend. Defendants will have fourteen days to respond to the motion, and plaintiff will then have seven days for any rebuttal. In the meantime, defendants' motion to dismiss the individual capacity claims against Drs. Watkins and Brown will be held in abeyance.