Nirvana ‘Nevermind’ Cover Art Lawsuit Revived by Federal Judges

Civil case filed by the man who was photographed naked as a baby for the famous rock album had its dismissal reversed

nirvana-nevermind-cover

A panel of federal appellate judges has reversed the dismissal of a child porn lawsuit filed against the former rock band Nirvana by the man who was photographed as a four-month-old baby for the cover of the famous 1991 album “Nevermind.”

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of 31-year-old Spencer Elden, argued that the album cover was similar to a “sex worker grabbing for a dollar bill” and that its legacy had dealt trauma to Elden as an adult. The lawsuit was dismissed in September 2022 by a Los Angeles federal district judge, who ruled that the suit against several record labels, the band’s surviving members and the estate of late guitarist Kurt Cobain was barred by a 10-year statute of limitations.

But a new ruling from a three-judge appellate court filed Thursday and obtained by TheWrap, ruled that since each new publication of the “Nevermind” cover may constitute personal trauma, the lawsuit was not bound to the statute of limitations.

“Elden’s complaint does allege new injuries, stemming from the Defendants’ redistribution of the album cover during the ten years prior to the action, within the limitations period,” read the ruling from George W. Bush appointee Judge Sandra S. Ikuta.

Since its release more than 30 years ago, “Nevermind” has become one of the bestselling and most influential rock albums ever released with more than 30 million copies sold. Elden’s family was friends with the photographer who shot the album cover and received $200 for allowing him to use the newborn Spencer Elden for the picture.

While Elden recreated the album cover in 2016 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of “Nevermind,” he filed a lawsuit against the band in 2021, arguing that by not covering his genitals on the cover with a sticker — something that Kurt Cobain staunchly refused — Nirvana had failed to protect him from sexual exploitation. The lawsuit was dismissed but with the opportunity to refile left open. Elden did so with the current lawsuit in January 2022.

Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.

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