Nirvana ‘Nevermind’ Baby Album Cover Lawsuit Dismissed by Judge
The lawsuit over Nevermind's album art that Spencer Elden lobbied against Nirvana was dismissed by a judge on Monday (Jan. 3) after Elden, the 30-year-old man photographed for the album cover when he was a baby, missed a deadline to file an opposition in the case.
Elden (pictured above) had until Dec. 30 to refile after members of the defunct grunge band and their related business entities sought a dismissal two weeks ago. They said Elden had spent the last three decades profiting from his celebrity as the "Nirvana Baby" and that the suit was past the statute of limitations.
Judge Fernando M. Olguin, presiding over the case at the U.S. District Court in Central California, dismissed the suit on Monday evening, as Variety reported.
However, the dismissal was made "with leave to amend." That means Elden has another chance to refile an amended complaint against Nirvana with a new deadline of Jan. 13. He would have to argue against the alleged "defects" in the defendants' motion to dismiss, such as the claim that the suit is time-barred. If he misses the new deadline, the suit can't continue.
"Plaintiff is cautioned that failure to timely file a second amended complaint shall result in this action being dismissed without prejudice for failure to prosecute and/or failure to comply," the current ruling says.
December's motion to dismiss came jointly from attorneys representing the late Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain, Courtney Love (Cobain's widow), former Nirvana members Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic, Nevermind photographer Kirk Weddle, Nirvana, L.L.C., MCA Records, UMG Recordings, Inc., Universal Music Group, Inc., the David Geffen Company and Geffen Records.
In August, Elden sued Nirvana for child sexual exploitation, claiming the image of him on the cover amounted to child pornography. He sought "damages arising out of each of the Defendant's violations of federal criminal child pornography statutes," per court documents uploaded to Scribd at the time by Pitchfork.
In September, Elden asked parent company Universal Music to stop using the album cover that depicts his genitalia, especially for the 2021 reissue. However, the anniversary editions, ultimately released in November, still feature the original cover art. That month, Elden submitted an amendment to his claims, citing entries from Cobain's journals to further his case.