Lawsuit Links Dental Products to Man’s Malignant Mesothelioma

Published on July 27, 2022

Though not exclusively an occupational disease, the rare and deadly form of cancer known as malignant mesothelioma is frequently attributed to workplace exposure to asbestos. While the vast majority of victims come from construction, shipbuilding, and factory environments, others have been exposed simply by working in buildings or with appliances that were fabricated using asbestos insulation. Asbestos was used in countless high-heat settings that might not immediately come to mind, as illustrated by Karl Beierschmitt, a dental specialist who died of the rare and deadly disease.

Dental Specialist Died of Malignant Mesothelioma

The lawsuit involving Mr. Karl Beirschmitt’s mesothelioma is making its way through the California courts despite the best efforts of the asbestos company that his family holds responsible for his illness and death. The Court of Appeals of California recently heard personal jurisdiction arguments, which pertain to whether a state’s courts are an appropriate forum for a specific case. 

The mesothelioma victim worked as a dental specialist and supply salesperson from 1955 through the 1970s, and during that time he was exposed to asbestos soldering blocks sold by Grobet File Company of America, LLC. He and his wife filed suit against the company, which quickly filed a motion to quash service of summons for lack of personal jurisdiction. The trial court granted the motion, but in light of a recent Supreme Court decision regarding jurisdiction, the Beirschmitt family filed an appeal.

Appeals Court Reverses Trial Court Decision in Mesothelioma Case

In overturning the trial court’s decision regarding where the mesothelioma lawsuit could be held, the appeals court noted that Mr. Beirschmitt had testified that he had encountered the product while working as a traveling dental supply salesperson, including in California, between 1960 and 1975. They also pointed to national catalogues that the company had published. Most importantly, they cited testimony provided by a former Grobet employee that supported the assertion that the company had “purposely availed itself of the California market for soldering blocks.” 

While the court understood that there is “room for reasonable disagreement about what it means for one thing to arise out of or related to another,” they determined that the evidence the mesothelioma victim had presented was adequate to demonstrate that California was an appropriate venue for the case to be heard. Mr. Beirschmitt died as a result of his mesothelioma during the pendency of the appeal, but his case will move forward through his successor in interest.

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, it is important that you work with people who have a robust understanding of your rights. For more information on how the Patient Advocates at can help, contact us today at 1-800-692-8608.

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Written by Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer
Terri Heimann Oppenheimer is the head writer of our news blog. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. Terri believes that knowledge is power and she is committed to sharing news about the impact of mesothelioma, the latest research and medical breakthroughs, and victims’ stories.

Learn more about and contact Terri


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