In this case, an official of a Finnish government department made public statements to the effect that an identified type of vehicle lift manufactured in Italy was defective and should not be placed on the market.
The Court held that the matter of the free movement of vehicle lifts was governed by Directive 98/37/EC on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to machinery and not by Article 28 EC. The Court stated that Directive 98/37/EC carried out exhaustive harmonization at EC level of the rules on the free movement of machinery and consequently the Treaty provisions on the free movement of goods and in particular Article 28 EC did not apply but those of the Directive did (see Case C-309/02 Radlberger Getränkegesellschaft and S. Spitz at paragraph 53).
That point is of great practical importance but overlooked by many academic texts. But that is a digression...
The Court held that a statement made publicly by a civil servant, even though the statement carried no legal force, can constitute an obstacle to the free movement of goods prohibited by Directive 98/37/EC (and by Article 28 EC if applicable) if the addressees of the statement understand it to reflect the official position taken by the State.
As a consequence, the member State may be liable in damages to compensate for the loss and damage caused by the statements of the civil servant. The Court adds that EC law does not preclude but does not require that the individual civil servant being personally liable in addition to the State.