Judges tosses out Nirvana baby’s 'final' lawsuit
The album has sold more than 30 million copies worldwide.
September 5, 2022 11:57pm
Updated: September 6, 2022 1:33pm
A lawsuit by Spencer Elden, who was photographed at as a baby for the cover of Nirvana’s 1991 album Nevermind, was dismissed on Friday because the statute of limitations expired.
Elden was four months old when he was photographed treading water nude in a Pasadena swimming pool for the cover photo. His parents were paid $200.
He filed a lawsuit in August 2021 against multiple parties connected to Nirvana, including the estate of the late Kurt Kobain, surviving members David Grohl and Kris Novoselic, the original photographer and multiple record labels, alleging the photos amounted to “child pornography,” according to Consequence.
Lawyers for Nirvana filed a motion to have the case dismissed, writing that Elden spent three decades “profiting from his celebrity as the self-anointed ‘Nirvana Baby,’” reports iHeartRadio. They also claimed that the 10-year statue of limitations for a civil claim had passed.
Judge Fernando Olguin of U.S. District Court in Central California agreed, dismissing the lawsuit in a ruling that will also prevent Elden from filing any more.
“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 ruled.
“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,” he added, referring to how Elden was on his third such version of the claim because of procedural issues.
The ruling rejects Elden’s attempt to get around the statute of limitations by arguing the existence of the cover continues to cause him emotional distress.
Bert Deixler, an attorney for the defendants, said “We are pleased that this meritless case has been brought to a speedy final conclusion.”
Margaret Mabie, Elden’s lawyer, said that her client plans to appeal the decision.
“The Nevermind cover was created at time when Spencer was a baby and it is impossible for him to age out of this victimization while his image remains in distribution,” Mabie told Rolling Stone.
Nevermind and its singles helped propel Nirvana into superstardom, selling more than 30 million copies worldwide.