How Twins accused of cheating on exam win $1.5M in lawsuit

How Twins accused of cheating on exam win $1.5M in lawsuit

A jury agreed the sisters “are genetically predisposed to behave the same way” when they awarded a $1.5 million payout to a pair of identical twins accused of cheating at a South Carolina medical school.

Kayla and Kellie Bingham filed a defamation suit against the Medical University of South Carolina in 2017, a year after the school accused them of colluding during an exam, according to Insider.

Kayla and Kellie Bingham

The pair were seated at the same table, but “we were about four or five feet apart,” Kellie explained to the news outlet, explaining that they couldn’t see each other because their monitors were blocking their views.

School officials accused the twins of cheating two weeks after the test.

“My mind was racing. I was sobbing and incredulous that this was happening to us,” Kayla said about having to appear before the school honor board.

“There’s no way to process your emotions when you’re accused of something you didn’t do,” she added to Insider.

The twins were informed that a professor who was remotely monitoring their exam suspected them of colluding and instructed a proctor to “keep an extra eye” on them.

The monitor reported that she noticed the students repeatedly nodding their heads as if they were exchanging signals – and that one of them had “flipped” a sheet of paper so the other could see it.

Kayla and Kellie Bingham, who became lawyers

“We were just nodding at a question on our own computer screens.” “There was no signaling,” Kayla told Insider, adding that they “never looked at each other.”

She told the news outlet that people had frequently commented on how “incredibly similar” they acted and that they didn’t have “twin telepathy” or “secret language.”

Kellie told the board that she and her sister had racked up strikingly similar academic marks since first grade and that their college-admission SAT scores were identical.

Despite their pleas, the sisters were found guilty of cheating but were cleared a few days later. But they said their reputations had already been sullied.

“These mutterings and rumors came throughout campus about how we’d been academically dishonest,” Kellie told Insider, adding that damaging comments about them spread across the US.

The sisters decided to pull out of the school later that year “at the recommendation of the dean, because of how hostile it had become,” Kayla said.

 Medical University of South Carolina
Medical University of South Carolina

They ended up dropping their plans to become doctors and went into law instead.

In 2017, the women filed a defamation lawsuit against the school — which they won last month.

During the trial in Charleston, their lawyer presented their nearly identical academic records to the jury.

A professor also told the panel that the sisters had submitted the exact same answers for an exam he had supervised in which they sat across the room from each other.

And a psychologist who specializes in behavioral genetics and the study of twins testified that she would only have been surprised if the twins had “not ended up with the same scores.”

“We knew the truth. We weren’t going to roll over and let our reputation be ruined,” Kayla said. “You take an entire lifetime to build a reputation.”

Kayla and Kellie Bingham

Nancy Segal, who founded the Twin Studies Center at California State University, Fullerton and testified at trial, described the “very close intertwining” of twins.

“They are genetically predisposed to behave the same way,” Segal told Insider. “They’ve been raised the same and are natural partners in the same environment.”

“Identical twins just have this kind of understanding that goes beyond what we normally think of as a close relationship,” she explained.

Due to the similarity of their thinking and behavior, twin students are frequently accused of cheating, according to Segal.

When the verdict was read out, the now 31-year-old sisters held hands.

“It was the most significant moment of our lives,” Kayla said. “We’ve been dealing with this for six years, and everything has finally been restored to us.”