Jon Campisi May 16, 2012, 8:17am

A York, Pa. man has filed a federal product liability complaint against the makers of an artificial hip device that the plaintiff alleges had to be replaced less than four years after it was implanted in his body because it was defective.

Lancaster, Pa. attorney Jaime D. Jackson, of Atlee Hall LLP, filed the civil action May 14 at the federal court in Philadelphia on behalf of Vernon Lerew.

The defendants named in the lawsuit are Johnson & Johnson International and DePuy Orthopedics Inc.

According to the complaint, Lerew underwent hip replacement surgery in late June 2008. The device that was implanted into his body only lasted until January 2012, at which time Lerew had to undergo a second surgery to replace the allegedly defective device.

The second surgery was necessary because the device had been recalled in August 2010, according to the complaint.

“At all times material hereto, the Defendants had knowledge that the ASR devices had a higher than acceptable failure rate, were not safe and that the ASR was in fact enhancing and causing injuries,” the lawsuit states, referring to the artificial hip by its proper name, the Acetabular System hip replacement device.

“Even so, the Defendants refused to concede the product was defective and delayed recalling the ASR device such that ASR devices continued to be used in hip replacement surgeries.”

The complaint states that the conduct of the defendants and the defective ASR device was a legal cause of serious injuries to Lerew.

These injuries included Lerew having to undergo a future revision surgery that would be more complicated, more invasive and less successful than would have been had the ASR not been defective; metal poisoning and metalosis due to metal debris from the defective ASR; extreme pain and suffering, scarring, disfigurement, embarrassment, humiliation and the loss of the enjoyment of life’s pleasures; and being at risk for future medical complications.

In addition, Lerew incurred medical expenses and expects to incur additional treatment-related expenses in the future and he has experienced lost wages and lost future earning capacity.

The lawsuit claims that the ASR devices experienced “unacceptably” high failure rates when compared with other metal-on-metal prostheses, and that they were causing severe injuries to patients due to metal debris that was being released into the patient.

Metal debris in the body can cause damage to a person’s muscles, tendons and other soft tissue, the suit claims.

The lawsuit contains counts of strict liability, negligence and breach of express and implied warranties.

Lerew seeks damages in excess of $75,000, along with prejudgment interest, delay damages and punitive damages.

A jury trial is being demanded.


The federal case number is 2:12-cv-02617-NS.  

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