Section 11H. Whenever any person or persons, whether or not acting under color of law, interfere by threats, intimidation or coercion, or attempt to interfere by threats, intimidation or coercion, with the exercise or enjoyment by any other person or persons of rights secured by the constitution or laws of the United States, or of rights secured by the constitution or laws of the commonwealth, the attorney general may bring a civil action for injunctive or other appropriate equitable relief in order to protect the peaceable exercise or enjoyment of the right or rights secured. Said civil action shall be brought in the name of the commonwealth and 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.
If the attorney general prevails in an action under this section, the attorney general shall be entitled to: (i) an award of compensatory damages for any aggrieved person or entity; and (ii) litigation costs and reasonable attorneys' fees in an amount to be determined by the court. In a matter involving the interference or attempted interference with any right protected by the constitution of the United States or of the commonwealth, the court may also award civil penalties against each defendant in an amount not exceeding $5,000 for each violation.