I made it work by using the lift-json jar instead. See extracting values in the lift-json docs.

package com.example.json

import net.liftweb.json._

object HelloJson extends App {

  case class Address(city: String, state: String)
  case class Person(name: String, addresses: List[Address])

  implicit val formats = DefaultFormats
  val json = parse(""" { "name" : "Billy", "addresses" : [{"city": "New York", "state": "NY"}, {"city": "Washington", "state": "DC"}] } """)

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