A $600 million settlement has been announced in the lawsuit against Norfolk Southern Railroad over the Feb 3, 2023 derailment in East Palestine and its aftermath.

According to court documents, the agreement-in-principle of the class action lawsuit will impact has been reached with the company, via a $600 million class action settlement that would resolve all claims within a 20-mile radius from the derailment and, for those residents who choose to participate, personal injury claims within a 10-mile radius from the derailment.

The agreement still requires the approval of U.S. District Court Judge Benita Pearson.

According to attorneys, the agreement provides for payment to residents and businesses in East Palestine and the affected surrounding communities, including a voluntary program to compensate people for past, present and future personal injuries resulting from exposure to the chemicals involved.

The money being paid is in addition to any money that Norfolk Southern has previously made available through community assistance and other payments.

“This resolution comes shortly after the first anniversary of the disaster and will provide substantial compensation to all affected residents, property owners, employees, and businesses residing, owning or otherwise having a legal interest in the property, working, owning, or operating a business for damages resulting from the derailment and release of chemicals,” said attorney Seth A. Katz.

Word of the settlement comes after one year of investigation, depositions, and analysis.

Although the main settlement terms have been agreed upon, certain details of the settlement agreement need to be finalized, including working with experts to determine an allocation formula that provides the highest levels of compensation to the residents closest to the derailment site and the most efficient manner to process claims and distribute funds, according to a news release from the plaintiff’s attorneys.

If the Court preliminarily approves the settlement, residents will receive formal notice of the settlement, including claims forms and additional information about the terms.

If approved by the Court, the settlement will resolve all plaintiff cases consolidated before the Federal court in Youngstown.

Separate actions for the environmental cleanup brought by state and Federal agencies are not resolved by this settlement and are still pending.

Jess Conard of East Palestine said it's good to see litigation move, but doesn't think it's a permanent fix to address the unknowns of toxic chemical exposure long-term.

"I just think that it's too soon to settle on such a low number, no matter how you were impacted, because you really don't know what the future holds. We really do need Norfolk Southern to take care of this, but also the federal government," Conard said, "We have taxpayer programs in place already and we really could be taking care of the victims. We have federal dollars available. We need to start using them, but I think in order to really prevent this from happening, again, $ 600 million is not enough."

The company said in part, "This is another promise kept by Norfolk Southern to make it right for the people of East Palestine and the surrounding communities. In March 2023, the company made commitments to address three long-term concerns of residents: drinking water, home values, and healthcare. Already, the company has announced programs for drinking water and home value assurance. The company is going further through this comprehensive settlement—providing additional, significant monetary relief to individuals, including for healthcare, and to help qualifying local businesses continue to rebuild and grow."

Attorneys representing residents affected by the derailment said more details are expected to be ironed out in the coming weeks.