The lawsuit stemmed from Nirvana’s use of a photo taken in 1991 at the Pasadena Aquatic Centre in California, which depicted the complainant swimming naked toward a dollar bill pierced with a fish hook.
Nirvana has won the dismissal of a
lawsuit by a man who claimed his depiction as a naked
four-month-old baby on the cover of the band’s seminal 1991
album “Nevermind” was child sexual exploitation.
Bert Deixler, a lawyer for the defendants, said: “We are pleased that this meritless case has been brought to a speedy final conclusion.”
In a decision on Friday, US District Judge Fernando Olguin
in Los Angeles said Spencer Elden waited too long to claim
Nirvana sexually exploited him, having sued more than 10 years
after learning about the cover.
Other defendants included Nirvana members Dave Grohl and
Krist Novoselic, late lead singer Kurt Cobain’s widow Courtney
Love, several record labels and photographer Kirk Weddle.
The lawsuit stemmed from Nirvana’s use of a photo taken by
Weddle in 1991 at the Pasadena Aquatic Center in California,
which depicted Elden swimming naked toward a dollar bill pierced
with a fish hook.
Elden was interviewed in 2003 at age 12 by Rolling Stone
magazine about the photo, saying he was “probably gonna get some
money from it,” and recreated the image as an adult in 2016 with
“Nevermind” tattooed on his chest.
He nevertheless claimed in his lawsuit, which began in
August 2021, that he met the statute of limitations because his
injuries including emotional distress, lost earning capacity and
“loss of enjoyment of life” continued into adulthood.
The judge rejected that argument, saying it would
effectively permit Elden to sue Nirvana indefinitely.
“In sum, plaintiff fails to allege that he knew of a
violation that occurred while he was a minor or an injury that
forms the basis of the claim within ten years of filing this
action,” Olguin wrote.
Elden had filed three versions of his complaint, and
Olguin’s dismissal prevents him from filing a fourth.
“Nevermind” features the song “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”
Sales topped 30 million.
READ MORE: Man appeared as naked baby on Nirvana cover sues for ‘sexual exploitation’