It was announced in early April that residents living in a 20-mile radius of the East Palestine train derailment now have the option of joining a class action lawsuit. 

This is to potentially get a cut of $600 million from Norfolk Southern.  Town halls were held on Monday for people affected to learn more about their options. Residents who attended told 21 News they're still skeptical about moving forward. 

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.

Worries and frustrations filled Columbiana's Main Street Theatre and Enon Valley's SNPJ Recreation Center Monday as legal experts discussed the East Palestine community's options involving Norfolk Southern's $600 million settlement.

"The people who live closest to the derailment are seeking compensation, rightfully so," explained Stacey Rinehart, Manager of East Palestine Justice Community Outreach. "Those that live further out aren't necessarily as concerned as the ones who live so close and a lot of them are saying they do not want to take any money from those who are impacted the most."

A majority of homeowners in the crowd Monday told 21 News they are hesitant to accept a cut of that settlement.

"I question the motives after it's come so abruptly after such a lack of help," said Krissy Ferguson of East Palestine.

If individuals accept payment now from the rail company, it releases any future litigations. This means homeowners can't go back and sue Norfolk Southern if health or financial problems arise.

"My health has been a huge factor," Ferguson added. "I've tested positive for vinyl chloride, every lymph node in my body is inflamed, and my home still reeks of chemicals. So to me, until you address the lasting health concerns, I believe we can't put the cart ahead of the horses."

Other residents said they are not interested in joining a class action lawsuit.

While the crowd stayed silent, listening closely to their legal options, not one person 21 News spoke with plans to take the settlement money offered.

"It's not going to meaningfully make a difference for the people that were most directly affected," said Khrista Graves of East Palestine. "I don't like the way the health is left open and loose. We need something very broad. The amount that has been thrown out to some community members isn't even enough to relocate."

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.

Homeowners who want to sue Norfolk Southern for damages the derailment caused have a deadline of next February, two years to the date the accident happened.