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TABC fines Lustre Pearl over $40,000

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"Drink Responsibly." You hear that message all the time, but what about "serve responsibly?"

Carolyn Beck with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission said, "It's the responsibility of the permit holder, the business owner, the manager and each employee to ensure that customers are not being over served and are not over-consuming alcohol."

Beck says they've reached a settlement with well-known Austin bar, Lustre Pearl, for continuing to serve an intoxicated customer.

"If they don't pay the fine by the time the suspension starts, then suspension goes into effect," said Beck.

Lustre Pearl has until December 24 to pay a $40,000 fine or face a 45 day suspension of their liquor license, essentially shutting them down temporarily.

They're paying the fine.

This all stems from an alcohol-related accident that killed 25 year-old Jarrett Ryan Whittington in July of last year.

Austin police found Ryan, the driver, Madeline Rackley, and another passenger inside the silver Honda Civic that was pulled out of Lady Bird Lake. The 25 year-old's family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Rackley and Lustre Pearl in June.

This is the first time Lustre Pearl has been named in a wrongful death suit. Rackley is charged with intoxication manslaughter and court records show she'd already been convicted in 2010 for DWI.

Her case could go to trial as early as next week.

Beck added, "Also part of that agreement, was that they would cease a drink special they had that involved selling a beer and shot together for one price and also...basically, having enough employees to watch the patrons, make sure they're not being over-served, over-serving."

Those changes at Lustre Pearl are indefinite.

This is a statement from Lustre Pearl about the settlement:

"We are pleased that TABC agreed that revocation of our license was not appropriate in this case and that we have resolved this matter. We have revised and improved our "responsible alcohol use" policy and have strict expectations of employees while on duty. All bar employees are required to be trained and certified by the TABC and we are also implementing a supplemental training program for our employees with licensed alcohol education instructors. In addition, we've begun some strategic partnerships with non-profit organizations on issues related to the responsible use of alcohol to create a greater awareness among its customers and employees."

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