BRISBANE, Australia (AP) - Etihad Airways says it will fight a lawsuit by an Australian passenger who says he was left with back pain because he was seated beside an overweight man on a 14-hour flight from the United Arab Emirates to Sydney.

BRISBANE, Australia (AP) Etihad Airways says it will fight a lawsuit by an Australian passenger who says he was left with back pain because he was seated beside an overweight man on a 14-hour flight from the United Arab Emirates to Sydney.

James Bassos is suing the Abu Dhabi-based airline in the Queensland state District Court over a permanent back injury he says he suffered while trying to avoid his fellow passenger on the 2011 flight. He is claiming $227,000 Australian dollars ($166,000) for medical expenses and lost earnings.

Etihad predicted in a statement on Friday that a court-ordered medical assessment in December would bring the case to a swift end.

The airline this week failed to have the lawsuit thrown out. Bassos could not be immediately contacted for comment.