BRISBANE, Australia, July 30 (UPI) -- A lawsuit filed in Australia alleges an airline passenger suffered back injuries as a direct result of being seated next to an obese person.
James Bassos' lawsuit against Abu Dhabi-based airline Etihad alleges he was seated next to an obese man on an October 2011 flight from Dubai to Sydney.
Court filings allege Bassos had to "contort and twist" in his seat to prevent having to make physical contact with the other passenger, who was purportedly coughing a lot during the flight and occasionally "expelled fluid from his mouth."
"After repeated requests of cabin crew, Mr. Bassos was given limited access to a crew seat but was still required to spend long stretches of time in a position which he claims caused a back injury and aggravation of an existing back condition," papers filed by Bassos' lawyers state.
Eithad, which unsuccessfully tried to have the case dismissed, argues it would not be liable for any injuries Bassos sustained because they were not related to an accident.
Brisbane District Judge Fleur Kingham ordered Bassos to undergo a medical examination.
"Etihad Airways will continue to oppose the action and now that Mr. Bassos will finally face a medical assessment in December 2015, as directed by court, we believe that the matter will proceed to an early conclusion," the company said in a statement. "The safety and comfort of Etihad Airways' passengers and crew is of paramount importance and the airline has a zero tolerance policy towards unruly behavior."