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COLUMBIA CHOOSES NEW LAW SCHOOL DEAN NEW YORK — David Schizer has been picked as the dean of Columbia Law School. On July 1, he will officially succeed Dean David Lebron, who in December accepted the presidency of Rice University in Houston. A 35-year-old scholar of tax law who joined the Columbia faculty in 1998 and whose wry humor is often noted by colleagues and students, Schizer is the youngest of a quartet of professors recently promoted from their faculties to head four of the Northeast’s top law schools: Columbia Law, New York University School of Law, Yale Law School and Harvard Law School. “I have energy and enthusiasm, which is not exclusively the province of youth — but it’s helpful,” Schizer said in an interview. Besides, he added, “The Constitution says I’m old enough to be president of the United States.” Michael Dorf, professor of constitutional law at Columbia, who headed a nine-member faculty search committee, said new deans at the other northeast institutions are all “relatively new and young, and all have bold ambitions to compete with us for faculty and students.” That becomes a fund-raising challenge, said Dorf, “and a challenge to keep Columbia continually exciting.” Elena Kagan, 44, was appointed Harvard Law dean in July 2003. In November, Yale Law appointed Harold Hongju Koh, 48. Richard Revesz, 46, became dean of NYU Law in June 2002. According to Columbia Law’s press office, Schizer is the 14th dean since 1858, and the youngest in the institution’s history. — New York Law Journal SUIT OVER ASSAULT BY FEDERAL WORKER REVIVED PHILADELPHIA — A federal appeals court has revived a suit brought by a man who suffered a broken neck when he was attacked by a federal worker, holding that while the government is immune from suit over the intentional assault, it may nonetheless be liable for the alleged negligence of the attacker’s co-workers if they were aware of his violent nature and failed to prevent the incident. In Matsko v. United States of America, the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said it agreed with a lower court’s ruling that the Federal Tort Claims Act “does not waive the United States’ immunity for intentional assaults by government workers who are acting outside the scope of their employment.” But the unanimous three-judge panel concluded that the lower court erred in dismissing John Matsko III’s second claim under the FTCA that was premised on the theory that the government is liable because the attacker’s supervisors and co-workers “did not act to prevent the assault.” Writing for the court, Judge Richard Nygaard found that, if Matsko is able to prove that the supervisors and co-workers were negligent, “then his claim would be squarely within the FTCA’s waiver of sovereign immunity.” The ruling is a victory for attorney Vincent Barbera in Somerset, Pa., who argued that since Matsko was in a government office as a business invitee, the government had an “affirmative duty” to keep him safe from harm. — The Legal Intelligencer

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