In the lawsuit, filed this week, lawyers for David Ukesone said he was tied down for eight hours without food or water on a flight from Dubai last week.
Ukesone claims the incident started when the crew members told him he sat in the wrong seat.
The airline said the crew restrained Ukesone because of unruly behavior.
Ukesone said he spent four days in the hospital after the flight.
Emirates did not respond to ABC7's request for comment on the lawsuit.