J&J sued over hip replacement device

Kyle Barnett Feb. 2, 2012, 11:00am

NEW ORLEANS – A New Orleans woman is suing Johnson and Johnson claiming a hip replacement she received from the company was defective.

Elizabeth Willems filed suit on Jan. 27 in the Orleans Parish Civil District Court against Johnson and Johnson.

Willems claims she received a hip replacement from Johnson and Johnson's ASR Implant Devices line in September 2009. The plaintiff alleges she was in severe and continuous pain following the implant and that subsequent blood tests found elevated levels of chromium and cobalt in her blood.

The filing alleges the increase of heavy metals in her blood was due to defective design of the hip replacement in which the metal on metal action of the joint produced large volumes of microscopic particles that then circulated throughout her surrounding bone and tissue.

Johnson and Johnson withdrew the product from the market in late 2009 following a challenge by the FDA.

The plaintiff claims the issue could have been prevented because the defendant was aware of the problems before Willems implant was installed and before the product was discontinued and a warning and voluntary recall of the product was submitted. Willems claims she required extensive surgery to replace the defective implant and still suffers from hip pain, has difficulty walking and will require medical monitoring due to the products aftereffects.

An unspecified amount in damages is being sought for medical expenses, rehabilitation expenses, pain and suffering, loss of motion and mobility, mental anguish, physical disfigurement, physical impairment and lost earnings.

Willems is being represented by Allan Berger of New Orleans-based Allan Berger and Associates.

The case has been assigned to Division C Judge Sidney H. Cates IV.

Case number 2012-00849

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