In what year was Massachusetts Chapter 186 Section 23 General Law put into effect?
According to my online unannotated copy of the Mass. General Laws (my source can't be linked because it is not an open access document), it was added by Acts 2012, c. 402, §1, effective 4/3/2013. This means that the law was one of the last ones passed in the 2012 legislative session and that it had a delayed effective date the following April.
It is possible that some of the language of that statutory section was previously found elsewhere in the statutes and relocated to this section at that time for some reason, or that some of this statutory language codified pre-existing case law. But, it is also possible that this statutory language contradicted case law that had existed at the time or that it was entirely new.