General Laws of Massachusetts - Chapter 93 Regulation of Trade and Certain Enterprises - Section 102 Equal rights; violations; civil actions; costs

Section 102. (a) All persons within the commonwealth, regardless of sex, race, color, creed or national origin, shall have, except as is otherwise provided or permitted by law, the same rights enjoyed by white male citizens, to make and enforce contracts, to inherit, purchase, to lease, sell, hold and convey real and personal property, to sue, be parties, give evidence, and to the full and equal benefit of all laws and proceedings for the security of persons and property, and shall be subject to like punishment, pains, penalties, taxes, licenses, and exactions of every kind, and to no other.

(b) A person whose rights under the provisions of subsection (a) have been violated may commence a civil action for injunctive and other appropriate equitable relief, including the award of compensatory and exemplary damages. Said civil action shall be instituted either in the superior court for the county in which the conduct complained of occurred, or in the superior court for the county in which the person whose conduct complained of resides or has his principal place of business.

(c) A violation of subsection (a) is established if, based on the totality of circumstances, it is shown that any individual is denied any of the rights protected by subsection (a).

(d) An aggrieved person who prevails in an action authorized by subsection (b), in addition to other damages, shall be entitled to an award of the costs of the litigation and reasonable attorneys’ fees in an amount to be fixed by the court.

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Last modified: September 11, 2015