Nirvana Lawsuit Dismissed For Final Time


Nirvana has won the lawsuit that the band faced over their cover art for the album Nevermind. A judge has dismissed the case. It had been filed by Spencer Elden, the baby seen in the iconic photograph. By dismissing the case for the final time, the judge has effectively ended the “child pornography” suit.

In a decision on Friday, US District Judge Fernando Olguin in Los Angeles said Spencer Elden waited too long to claim Nirvana sexually exploited him, having sued more than 10 years after learning about the cover.

Elden also claimed the image on the cover was taken and used without his consent. Olguin’s dismissal prevents Elden from filing a fourth version of his complaint.

“In short, because it is undisputed that [Elden] did not file his complaint within ten years after he discovered a violation… the court concludes that his claim is untimely,” Olguin wrote in the eight-page ruling.

The judge continued: “Because plaintiff had an opportunity to address the deficiencies in his complaint regarding the statute of limitations, the court is persuaded that it would be futile to afford plaintiff a fourth opportunity to file an amended complaint.”

“We are pleased that this meritless case has been brought to a speedy final conclusion,” Bert Deixler, a lawyer for Nirvana, told Reuters

In a Dec. 2021 motion to dismiss the “meritless” lawsuit, first filed in Aug. 2021, Nirvana’s lawyers argued that Elden was willing to associate himself with the Nevermind cover over the years. He sold such autographed copies of the cover and at one point recreating the photograph as an adult for a paying gig. They also argued too much time had passed for Elden to sue.

Elden was interviewed in 2003 at age 12 by Rolling Stone magazine about the photo, saying he was “probably gonna get some money from it”. He also recreated the image as an adult in 2016 with “Nevermind” tattooed on his chest.

He claimed in his lawsuit, which began in August 2021, that he met the statute of limitations because his injuries including emotional distress, lost earning capacity and “loss of enjoyment of life” which continued into adulthood.