Nirvana Wins ‘Nevermind’ Album Cover Baby Lawsuit as Judge Dismisses Case — Again

Spencer Elden, who was photographed as a baby for the album, began the legal battle in Aug. 2021


Nirvana has officially won its “Nevermind” album cover baby lawsuit after a federal judge dismissed the case for a final time Friday, according to reports.

Judge Fernando M. Olguin wrote in an eight-page ruling that since the plaintiff, Spencer Elden, filed the case after knowing about the cover for over 10 years, his filing had exceeded the statute of limitations, officially dismissing the case in favor of Nirvana.

The ruling ends a year-long case brought forth by Spencer Elden, who was photographed for the album cover when he was a baby. In Aug. 2021, Elden filed a case against claiming that the image was child pornography and that as a child, he couldn’t consent to his image being used.

The now-iconic cover art depicts four-month old Elden submerged in a swimming pool, with a dollar bill on the end of a fishhook floating above him. Photographer Kirk Weddle, who took the photo, reportedly gave Elden’s parents $200 for taking the photo that eventually landed on the cover of “Nevermind,” which has sold over 30 million copies since its 1991 release.

His lawsuit named Weddle, all surviving members of Nirvana and the estate of lead singer Kurt Cobain, Cobain’s widow Courtney Love, the band’s art director Robert Fisher, Heather Parry and producer Guy Oseary as well UMG, Warner Records and David Geffen’s Geffen Records. He initially requested $150,000 from each defendant named along with an unspecified amount of punitive damages. 

On Dec. 22, 2021, representatives for the defendants filed a motion to dismiss the case, noting that the statute of limitations was up and disputing the claim that the image is in any way sexually exploitative. After the filing, a judge gave Elden until Dec. 30, 2021 to file an opposition to the motion to dismiss — a deadline Elden missed.

In Jan. 2022, a federal judge for the Central District of California dismissed the lawsuit “with leave to amend,” giving Elden until Jan. 13 to file a second amended complaint. However, according to The New York Times, Elden’s lawyers missed the deadline.