LOS ANGELES - The family of a 17-year-old leukemia patient is suing health insurance giant Cigna Corp. over her death after the company initially refused to pay for a liver transplant.

Family attorney Mark Geragos held a news conference today to say the family filed the lawsuit last week. The suit accuses Cigna of delaying and rejecting valid claims, which resulted in the wrongful death of Nataline Sarkisyan.

The Philadelphia-based insurer eventually approved the transplant after the girl's family held a rally outside Cigna's suburban Los Angeles office. But she died just hours after the approval was secured.

Cigna spokesman Chris Curran says the company empathizes with the family but believe that the lawsuit is without merit.