The album’s cover, which featured a naked four-month-old Spencer Elden, was rejected by U.S. District Judge Fernando Olguin in Los Angeles, after it was deemed Elden had waited too long to sue since learning about the cover.
Elden had claimed the image of him as a baby constituted child sexual abuse, but it took him more than ten years since finding out about the image for him to then sue. He was seeking $150,000 (£130,000) in damages.
The list of defendants also included former Nirvana members Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic, as well as Kurt Cobain’s former partner, Courtney Love, and the photographer who took the photo, Kirk Weddle.
Elden had filed the lawsuit in August 2021, claiming the case was still valid as it had continued to cause him emotional distress, lost earning capacity and “loss of enjoyment of life”.
The judge, however, has now rejected that argument outright and Elden can no longer re-file the case – although his legal team said they would appeal against the ruling.
Mr Elden’s parents were paid $200 (£173) for the photo in 1991, at a time when Nirvana were relatively unknown. The Nevermind album it features, went on to become one of the best-selling albums of all-time, having sold more than 30 million copies worldwide.