NORFOLK, Va. (AP) _ A woman who had her hip replaced to alleviate a painful birth defect has sued the product's maker, calling the artificial hip ``unreasonably dangerous.''

The $3 million lawsuit filed by 42-year-old Angela Kelly Hicks against Sulzer Orthopedics is the fourth such case nationwide, following a class action suit in Los Angeles and individual demands in Austin and Houston.

According to the company, a lubricant residue prevents the artificial joint from bonding with the hip bone, making it loose and painful.

Hicks has needed a cane since the hip was inserted in June and, as it loosens, she feels more pain in her groin and upper thigh. Doctors have told her she may have to replace the joint, she said.

Sulzer has agreed to reimburse patients for replacing the product, which was recalled voluntarily on Dec. 5. Most of the 17,500 items of its kind were built since 1999.

The company has also apologized to doctors and patients on its Web site.