Identical Twin Sisters Accused of Cheating Awarded $1.5 Million
IDENTICAL TWIN SISTERS WIN $1.5 MILLION AFTER CHEATING ACCUSATION
Identical twin sisters Kayla and Kellie Bingham both chose to purse their careers as doctors by attending the Medical University of South Carolina. Their career training in school was nearly derailed when the school accused them of cheating on their year-end exam. The school charged them with “academic dishonesty” in May 2016 after test proctors reviewed exam results and found that the two had remarkably similar scores. A school “honor council” accused the two “were signaling one another and passing notes.” The sisters disagreed and sued for defamation, and they were just awarded $1.5 million for the privilege.
TWIN SISTERS YEAR-END MEDICAL EXAM TESTS WERE REMARKABLY SIMILAR
To be fair, at first blush the sisters’ tests were remarkably similar. They had identical answers to 296 out of 307 questions, which included 54 wrong answers. This seemed suspicious to university officials, who then started an investigation into the twins. The University ended its investigation by finding that the two cheated on the exam. But this year-end exam was 8 hours long, and the identical twin sisters exhibited normal test taking behavior. The sisters appealed the ruling and filed a lawsuit against the university, claiming that they have performed similarly all their lives in both school ant athletics.
BUT EXPERTS SAY TWINS OFTEN PERFORM VERY SIMILARLY ACADEMICALLY
The sisters claimed that the cheating allegations caused them psychological distress, which included panic attacks and PTSD. Last month, a South Carolina jury agreed, and awarded them $1.5 million in damages after a 4-day trial. But they had some solid support, with the testimony from Nancy Segal, who runs California State University, Fullerton’s Twin Studies Center and who testified in the case. She testified that numerous studies show that identical twins often perform similarly on tests. This is so consistent, she said, “When identical twins perform very differently it catches our attention.”
After the accusation, the identical twin sisters abandoned their goals of becoming doctors and now work as government affairs advisors at the same South Carolina law firm.