Nirvana ‘Nevermind’ Cover Lawsuit Reinstated by U.S. Appeals Court


  • The decision by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn a lower court’s ruling on a lawsuit against iconic 90s band Nirvana has made headlines.
  • The case was brought forward by Spencer Elden, the man depicted as a baby on the cover of the band’s seminal album “Nevermind”.
  • Elden, 32, accused Nirvana, its label Universal Music Group, and photographer Kirk Weddle of sexually exploiting him and causing ongoing personal harm.
  • The court has yet to determine if the album cover could be classified as child pornography.
  • Nirvana’s legal representative, Bert Deixler, asserts their intent to win this case despite the recent proceedings.

Latest Development In Nirvana Lawsuit: Court of Appeals Overturns Lower Court’s Decision

The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a verdict by a lower court that Spencer Elden, who was pictured as a baby on Nirvana’s “Nevermind” album cover, had exceeded the statute of limitations for his lawsuit against the renowned Seattle-born grunge music group.

Notably, it was not determined by the court whether the “Nevermind” album cover constitutes as child pornography.

Reactions from Involved Parties

Bert Deixler, Nirvana’s legal representative, revealed on Thursday that despite the legal setback, their stance remains unchanged. “We will continue to strongly defend this baseless case and anticipate a favorable outcome,” stated Deixler. Meanwhile, Elden’s team did not immediately issue any comments on the court decision.

The Original Lawsuit

Elden, age 32, brought the original lawsuit against Nirvana and Universal Music Group, their label, in 2021. He accused them of sexual exploitation and sustained personal damages due to his portrayal on the “Nevermind” album cover. Also listed in the lawsuit are remaining Nirvana members, Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic, Kurt Cobain’s widow, Courtney Love, and photographer Kirk Weddle.

The use of Weddle’s photo by Nirvana, portraying a naked Elden swimming towards a dollar bill hooked on a fishing line at the Pasadena Aquatic Center in California, was the origin of the lawsuit.

The Court’s Ruling

Last year, U.S. District Judge Fernando Olguin determined that Elden’s case had to be dropped as it was not filed within the 10-year limit after discovering the cover. Still, this judgment was reversed on Thursday by a unanimous decision from the 9th Circuit court panel. They stated Elden could still bring the case based on Nirvana’s more recent republication of the cover, including in the 2021 re-release of “Nevermind”.

This case could potentially impact the financial conditions of Universal Music Group and the trading performance of their shares.

PIP Penguin