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Judge dismisses Nirvana baby's "Nevermind" lawsuit

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Gutchie Kojima/Shinko Music/Getty Images
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Anyone surprised?

A judge has dismissed the lawsuit against Nirvana that was filed by Spencer Elden, who was photographed as a baby for the band's iconic Nevermind cover.

Elden claimed he suffered “lifelong damages” from the photo and that it was “commercial child sexual exploitation” and child pornography, while representatives for Nirvana refuted the claims, saying the lawsuit was “not serious” and beyond the statute of limitations.

The statement went on to cite multiple occasions where Elden seemingly embraced being featured on the album cover, claiming that he’d “spent three decades profiting from his celebrity as the self-anointed ‘Nirvana Baby’”. (Elden had recreated the Nevermind cover photo on more than one occasion and even has the record’s title tattooed on his chest.)

According to Spin, the lawsuit has been dismissed in U.S. District Court in Central California, with Judge Fernando M. Olguin rejecting the case yesterday “with leave to amend”.

Supposedly Elden’s legal team had until December 30th to file an opposition to the Nirvana estate’s request to dismiss the suit, but they failed to meet the deadline. They now have until next January 13th to refile a second complaint.

The court said that this will “grant defendants’ Motion and give plaintiff one last opportunity to amend his complaint." Should the deadline be missed, there will not be another opportunity to refile. If they make the date, Nirvana’s estate will have until January 27th to reply to the refiled suit.

The original lawsuit was filed in August of 2021, with Elden seeking $150,000 in damages from Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic, the estate of Kurt Cobain, album artwork photographer Kirk Weddle and designer Robert Fisher, as well as the labels responsible for the album’s release, including Universal Music and Geffen Records.

Mel is the WFPK morning host. Email Mel at mfisher@lpm.org.