As always, there is the "legal" answer, and then there is the practical answer. Without the written consent of both parties, the only way an escrow officer is going to disburse those funds to either party is by court order. So, who's going to get the court order first? Well, first retain a lawyer, which will cost about $2,500 minimum, which will be deposited into the attorney's trust account to start the case. Plan on about 10 hours of work minimum for anywhere from $200-300/hour. If the other party also hires an attorney, prepare for a lengthy battle unless the two parties can settle their differences about the disbursement of the earnest monies in escrow. If it was a significant sum of money, then perhaps this course of action is desirable, but I don't think that anyone could predict beforehand which way either an arbitrator, judge, or worst case, a jury, would sway without a lot more facts. If the amount of earnest money is modest, the Seller might just consider making a deal with the Buyer to release most if not all of the money back to the Buyer for an agreement to terminate the Purchase Agreement and close the escrow account. Perhaps the Seller should negotiate actual expenses incurred be withheld, which may be seen as reasonable. This will avoid attorney's fees and more quickly resolve this matter. The point is to find a qualified and willing buyer for your property as soon as possible. Just a disclaimer here: I'm not an attorney, only a real estate broker, and you should always seeks appropriate professional help where necessary...Good luck!