A pair of identical twins accused of cheating at a South Carolina medical school have received a $1.5 million payout — from a jury that agreed the sisters are “genetically predisposed to behave the same way.”
Kayla and Kellie Bingham filed their defamation lawsuit against the Medical University of South Carolina in 2017 — a year after the school claimed they were in cahoots during an exam, Insider reported.
The pair were seated at the same table, but “we were about four or five feet apart,” Kellie told the news outlet, explaining that they couldn’t watch each other because their monitors blocked their view.
Two weeks after the test, school officials accused the twins of cheating.
“My mind was racing. I was sobbing and incredulous that this was happening to us,” Kayla said of having to appear before the school’s honors committee.
“There’s no way to process your feelings when you’re being accused of something you didn’t do,” she added to Insider.
The twins were informed that a professor supervising their exam remotely suspected they were in cahoots and told a proctor to “keep an extra eye on them”.
The monitor reported that she noticed the students repeatedly nodding their heads as if exchanging signals – and said one of them had “flipped” a piece of paper so the other could see it.
“We just nodded to 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 often remarked how “incredibly similar” they acted and that they lacked “twin telepathy” and “secret language.”
Kellie told the board that she and her sister had achieved strikingly similar high school grades since first grade and that their SAT scores for college admission were identical.
Despite their pleas, the sisters were found guilty of fraud but were acquitted a few days later. But they said their reputation has already been tarnished.
“These murmurs and rumors about how we had been academically dishonest went all over campus,” Kellie told Insider, adding that harmful comments about her were spreading across the US.
The sisters decided to leave the school later that year “on the dean’s recommendation because she had become so hostile,” Kayla said.
They eventually abandoned their plans to become doctors and went to law school instead.
In 2017, the women filed a defamation lawsuit against the school – which they won last month.
At the Charleston trial, her attorney presented the jury with their nearly identical academic credentials.
A professor also told the panel that the sisters submitted the exact same answers for an exam he proctored, sitting opposite one another.
And a psychologist specializing in behavioral genetics and the study of twins said she would have been surprised if the twins “didn’t end up having the same results.”
“We knew the truth. We didn’t want to fall over and ruin our reputation,” Kayla said. “It takes a lifetime to build a reputation.”
Nancy Segal, who founded the Twin Studies Center at California State University in Fullerton and testified in court, described the “very close bond” of twins.
“They’re genetically predisposed to behave the same way,” Segal told Insider. “They grew up the same and are natural partners in the same environment.”
She said, “Some twins just have that kind of understanding that goes beyond what we normally think of as a close relationship.”
Segal noted that twin students are often accused of cheating due to the similarity in their thinking and behavior.
The now 31-year-old sisters held hands when the verdict was announced.
“That was the greatest moment of our lives,” Kayla said. “We’ve been living with it for six years and finally got it all restored.”
The two women now work at the same law firm and want to approach defamation lawsuits as their own, the outlet said.
https://nypost.com/2022/12/05/south-carolina-twins-kayla-and-kellie-bingham-win-1-5m-in-cheating-suit/ Twins Kayla and Kellie Bingham win $1.5 million in ‘cheat suit’